Thursday, January 31, 2013

Celebrating My Printz Year

Well, a years worth of reading and rereading and rereading some more is over. I spent the last week in Seattle as part of the Printz Committee and I loved every moment of it. It's so strange to not have to read something for committee and actually have free time again!

Yes, it took a lot of time and was a lot of work, but it was amazing and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I loved our committee and the discussions we had-I want to keep talking books with them all!

I've attended the Youth Media Awards before, but this year have even more special meaning to me. I knew I would be an emotional mess, and I was. I cried during our early morning phone calls to our authors and I cried as our titles were announced. Knowing that I was part of the group that chose these books is something so amazing I can't put into words what a thrill it was.

I can't tell you about our discussions, but I will say that I am so happy and thrilled with our titles. I know it was an unexpected list, but that's part of what made the reactions so fun. I hope that everyone will take time to read the books.

One thing I learned from my Printz year is that I will never again judge other committees picks. After you go through the hard work of reading and discussing, you know what goes into the process. And even if the book is something I might not have personally picked, I appreciate all the hard work each committee puts into the process and I think I have a new appreciation for the titles they choose. In the past I know I've wondered why a committee has chosen a particular title, but now, even though I may wonder why, boy do I appreciate the hard work they put into making that decision!

Congrats to all our authors and I can't wait to celebrate with everyone in Chicago!!

Happy reading everyone!

This years Printz titles are:
In Darkness by Nick Lake
Honor Books:
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Prodigy Blog Tour-Prodigy Excerpt

I am very excited to be part of the Prodigy Blog Tour! I have an excerpt of the book and author Marie Lu's thoughts just for GreenBeanTeenQueen readers!

PRODIGY Excerpt: Stretching out before us, peeking through the gaps between the military buildings, is a city: tall, shining skyscrapers reaching up through the low clouds and delicate snow, and each building illuminated by beautiful blue lights that pour from almost every window and every floor. Fighter jets line the skyscrapers’ rooftops. The entire landscape is aglow. – Day, page 282

Marie’s thoughts: It wasn’t a huge stretch for me to envision the world of Prodigy and Legend as our own world, and that in itself is a little disturbing. Everything dystopian in the books was pulled directly from reality: the Republic is not a far cry from North Korea’s regime, for example, and the plagues in Legend were inspired directly by the eugenics movement back in the early 20th century. When I first started writing Legend, in fact, it was late 2009 and we’d already started seeing our country split off into extreme, twisted versions of our political parties. That extremism was part of what inspired Legend’s world, and now it’s a little eerie to hear all these calls for secession after our most recent election. After all, the Republic and the Colonies are the broken remnants of a once great United States. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in real life.

About ProdigyJune and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.
But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?
In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

Download the FREE Marie Lu digital sampler to your e-reader and start reading Legend and Prodigy right now!Kindle

Read Marie’s e-special, LIFE BEFORE LEGEND: STORIES OF THE CRIMINAL AND THE PRODIGY for only $2.99!Kindle

Read more from PRODIGY and Marie Lu on these blogs!
Mon, 1/21: The Story Siren 
Tues, 1/22: Forever Young Adult
Wed, 1/23: Book Chic 
Thurs, 1/24: Books with Bite 
Fri, 1/25: Alice Marvels 
Mon, 1/28: Presenting Lenore 
Tues, 1/29: Mundie Moms 
Wed, 1/30: GreenBeanTeenQueen 
Thurs, 1/31: Pure Imagination 
Fri, 2/1: Bookalicious
Mon, 2/4: The Compulsive Reader 
Tues, 2/5: The Book Cellar 
Wed, 2/6: Cuddlebuggery
Thurs, 2/7: Anna Reads 
Fri, 2/8: Tales of the Ravenous Reader

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Caldecott Storytime: Week 2

Since 2013 is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, I decided to theme all of my Spring storytimes around Caldecott Medal winners and honor books. I themed week two around animals and pets.

Theme: Animals/Pets

Opening Song: I opened this week with Where is Thumbkin and Shake Your Sillies Out

Literacy Skill: Tell Stories (all of our books and activities were about telling stories)

Caldecott Talk: I asked the kids if they remembered the books we read last week and since about half the group was new, I explained the Caldecott Medal again and talked about how we were going to look at books that had great pictures in them.


Knuffle Bunny is always fun to read and is great for kids and parents alike.
Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner

 -The kids really loved this one, especially since they got to help call out all the animals rabbit was bringing in to help get the plane down.

Song: Little Bunny Foo Foo-this was a big hit-the kids loved all the actions and the parents loved that they knew the song and could sing along. It was great to have lots of intereaction from everyone with this song.


-I liked this book a lot, but the kids didn't seem to love it as much I do sadly. There are some very funny moments (the cat playing with toilet paper) that went right over the kids heads.

Song: Animal Action 1 by Greg and Steve



I got a very cute bunny craft from our craft supply at the library that the kids had lots of fun making:

(have kids trace foot, glue ears and cotton ball tail and draw eyes, whiskers and bunny feet)
-Build a tower with blocks-instead of animals like rabbits used, we used giant foam packing blocks
-Read a book with stuffed animals-I set up various stuffed animals and books for kids to read to stuffed animal friends 

How it went:

I would add a few more activities for this one, but overall the books and songs were lots of fun and the kids really liked it. The pet theme was a bit hit.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

YA Movie News

-Cynopsis News reports that The Vampire Diaries may have a spinoff series titled The Originals. It would be about the family led by Klaus. The series would be based on an episode airing in April. Hypable also has some casting news if the show should be picked up. I guess I really need to catch up on The Vampire Diaries, don't I?

-Fox has ordered a pilot for Lauren Oliver's novel Delirium. The dystopian novel is set in a future where love is a disease-I think this could make a pretty cool TV show, anyone else?

-Entertainment Weekly has a roundup of three characters we won't be seeing in the Catching Fire film adaptation.

-The Selection is getting another chance at The CW. The show was being worked for this season but ended up getting shelved. Now the show has been given a second greenlight for a new pilot. Here's hoping we see more YA on TV!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Author Guest Post: Alexandra Monir

Please welcome Alexandra Monir to GreenBeanTeenQueen to talk about her favorite teen reads.

Alexandra Monir is the author of Timeless and the recently released sequel Timekeeper

 My Favorite Teen Reads
 by Alexandra Monir

It’s no surprise to any of my childhood friends that I became an author, because reading was always my obsession! Every day I’d toss a new “just for fun” book in my backpack, and I’d race to finish school assignments and tests quickly so I could spend a few more minutes in the fictional world. The book series that captivated me from childhood into my teens, and that I love to revisit every several years, is the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Betsy-Tacy begins when the characters, protagonist Betsy Ray and her best friend Tacy Kelley, are only five years old in the year 1897, and it continues all the way till Betsy’s wedding and first year of marriage in her twenties. While the first few books are adorable and perfect for younger kids, I was absolutely entranced by the teen books in the series, four novels that recount Betsy’s freshman year of high school (Heaven to Betsy), sophomore year (Betsy In Spite of Herself), junior year (the aptly-titled Betsy Was A Junior) and senior year (Betsy and Joe). It was magical to read about high school from the perspective of characters nearly one hundred years in the past! While Betsy and her friends’ way of life was drastically different (no cell phones or Internet, and only a handful of families had cars) so much still matched up to my own high school experiences. From school spirit and the thrill of being part of “a crowd,” to the dizzying highs and crushing lows of first love, Betsy and I had so much in common. We even both wanted to be writers! My love for this series showed me how special it is to see the coming-of-age experience through a historical lens, and that’s part of what inspired me to write Timeless. I wanted my modern-day protagonist to get to live my fantasy of going back in time and experiencing what it was like to be a teenager one hundred years ago.

When I discovered that Betsy and her friends were all real and that the books were entirely based on the author’s own childhood and teen years in Minnesota, I was floored. Visiting Betsy and Tacy’s real houses when I was in Minnesota is an experience I will never forget. Now, as I look at my own books on the shelves, I have to thank Maud Hart Lovelace for spurring on my love of writing and reading historical fiction, and for brightening my childhood with her enchanting stories.

Connect with Alexandra:

Twitter: @TimelessAlex

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Storytime Breaks

One of the things I love about the library world is that there is so much collaboration and sharing in the profession. I owe a HUGE thank you to two of my fellow librarians and bloggers: Amy at Show Me Librarian  and Marge at Tiny Tips of Library Fun. Because of these two lovely ladies, I got some great ideas for our storytime break.

I work at the main branch of a large library district and my branch is very much a destination branch. Even though other branches have opened since my branch opened, it's the main branch, the largest, and it's a big draw for our community. Add in the fact that the business area around my library has really built up and we have a lot of traffic. A lot of our traffic is toddler and preschool and we get large crowds for our storytimes, especially in the summer. We do six storytimes a week and average around 12-25 kids per storytime. Sometimes it's a lot more, sometimes it's a lot less. So storytime breaks are something we value very much at  my branch. We take off the entire month of May (to prep for summer reading and make school visits to talk about summer reading), entire month of December (due to low attendance numbers in this month), and a few weeks in August after summer reading (mostly to give us some catch up time after summer reading to prep for the Fall session of storytime).

I love having planning breaks. They are wonderful refreshers, I have a chance to prep my upcoming programs and storytimes, and I have a chance to evaluate the last session of storytimes and see what I want to continue or change. But no matter how long we've done storytime breaks (for years!) and no matter how much we advertise, there's always someone who comes in for storytime. This happens even when we do have storytime and someone comes in on a non-storytime day or time. Somedays I think I could have a non-stop loop of storytime happening and that would be OK. I might go a bit crazy though! :)

So this December, I was inspired by these two lovely bloggers to try something new. Amy gave me the idea of take home storytime kits.  Mine were a bit different, as I didn't advertise the theme on the kit as Amy did, but the idea was the same. My staff and I collected two-three books per bundle (we tried to stick to a theme like jungle, farm, but that wasn't required). We also tried to make sure we had a toddler book, preschool book, and if we could find a good one a non-fiction book to highlight all of our resources. We added one CD per bundle and tied it up in a nice bow. I had cards that said "Take Home Storytime Kit" printed off in nice bright colors that we tied to each bundle. On the front of the cards I included a rhyme or fingerplay and the Racing to Read Skill (our early literacy program at the library) each bundle was focused on. On the back, I wrote down the title and the barcode of each item, so they could take the entire bundle up front to check out without having to untie it.

We had so many compliments and patrons who loved the storytime kits. They really loved the themes and asked if we could keep doing theme bundles (so far I haven't kept it up-I think it will be a special display for off months due to the amount of work it takes to create each bundle and keep up the display). Thanks Amy for the great idea!!

(Our Cookie Club Windows)

From Marge, I borrowed the idea of the Cookie Club. My cookie club has been running since December 1st and will run until the end of February, so I went a bit longer than Marge's club. Kids come to the desk and join the Cookie Club, which is basically receiving a small business card with the information on the front and blank on the back for stamps. Each time a child comes into the library, they get a stamp on their card and can decorate a "cookie" (a brown construction paper circle) and hang it in our window. We have to large windows that look into our workroom and I'm always trying to think of creative ways to decorate them-they look so great with lots of cookies filling the window!

When they get six stamps of their card, they get invited to our super special secret invite only Cookie Club party that is only for members where will we read books, sing songs, and eat cookies! The party will be in March and the goal is to get people into the library as much as possible during the slow months of winter.

So far, the kids have been loving it. They love getting stamps on their cards and they love decorating cookies. And if you tell someone it's a super special secret invite only party-of course they want to be there! It's been a great success and was nice to give the kids something to do (decorate cookies) when we had our storytime break. Thanks Marge for the great idea!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Your ALA Youth Media Awards Predictions

The ALA Youth Media Awards are coming up-the announcement is January 28th!

My top three picks for Caldecott are:

And I have two dark horse picks:

I haven't read much middle grade this year, but my pick for Newbery is:

and I have one dark horse Newbery pick:

And of course, I can't make any Printz predictions this year! 

What do you think will win? Any predictions for Caldecott, Newbery and Printz?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reading Critically-You Can Do It!

I was asked recently on the blog about how to read critically and I thought it was a great question! It's one I've felt lost with before.

When I first became a librarian and when I especially started committee work, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and that there was no way I could read critically. So first off, get that idea out of your head because you can do it!

For anyone who is starting out as a reviewer or librarian, I recommend reading From Cover to Cover by Kathleen T. Horning.  This book is an invaluable resource when it comes to reviewing and is a great reference when you read critically. This is also most likely what most youth services librarians will tell you to start with and many committees recommend reading this book before you start your committee work because this resource is so valued in the profession.

I would also suggest taking a look at some children's literature textbooks or reader's advisory guides. The textbook that we used in my lit class was: Young Adult Literature: Exploration, Evaluation, and Appreciation by Katherine T. Bucher and KaaVonia M. Hinton. I love the genre checklists in this book and have used it for training at work and referenced it often.

Kelly at Stacked has a great cheat sheet to critical reviews that has lots of wonderful questions to ask as you read! She also has a great post about being critical and why critical reviews matter.

Now you get to start reading! There is a big difference between reading for pleasure and reading critically. When I read for pleasure, I can overlook plot holes, ignore small character development, etc. But when I'm reading critically, I'm paying attention to those things. Ask yourself lots of questions as you read such as:

-Does the plot make sense? Are there lots of plot holes? Does it flow smoothly? Does it leave you confused and leave plot points hanging? Or does the plot work well to make a cohesive story? (And series books, sequels and cliffhangers are OK-I try to look at does it wrap the main story of this book up but leave the reader wanting more?)

-Are the characters well developed? Are they stock characters with little development? How are the character voices? If it's written in multiple points of view, does each voice stand out? Do they sound like teenagers (or whatever age they are supposed to be) or do they sound like kids? Does their voice match their actions? 

-Is the setting well developed? This is especially important when worldbuilding is a big part of the story like in genre fiction, but setting is something to think about in every book you read. In genre fiction, you want to look at how the setting helps with the plot-does the historical setting add to the story? Was the historical setting accurate? Did the fantasy or science fiction world work or was it just set in a magical land and that didn't matter to the story?

-How is the pacing of the story? Does it drag? Do things wrap up too quickly? Is it a fast read or slow read? And neither one of those is good or bad-it's just different styles. For example, if it's a book built on suspense, does the pacing help keep the suspense up?

-How is the language? Is the writing choppy or flowy (and if so, is it on purpose and fit the book?) Is the writing literary? Did the story get bogged down in the writing or does it have a nice flow? 

-Does the story have authenticity? Sure, there are going to be magical moments when you stretch your belief, but you want to look at the story as a whole and if it rings true? Did you believe the characters, the setting, the worldbuilding? Did their actions seem real? Did their voices seem real? If there were some moments of magic or suspension of disbelief did it work with the story?

And a million other questions you'll think of as you read. As you read you want to look at what makes the book work or not work. What works well, what doesn't work well, what needed help, what was perfect.

You also want to look at the audience the book is for (especially if you're reviewing and considering audience appeal). Is it a picture book that talks down to its readers? Is it a middle grade novel that reads more like its written for second graders? If you're reviewing for your library, you also want to make note of who the audience would be-is this a book that you must add to every library collection or would it do well where angel books are still popular but isn't a necessary purchase for all libraries? Read reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal for examples of this-their reviews do a great job pointing out audience appeal.

The biggest thing you can do to read critically is to keep reading and reviewing. I know, I know, it sounds like cheap answer but it's true!! The more you read, the more your critical reading starts to grow. When you start looking at the books you read critically, you'll notice more about them and your critical reading will grow.

I would also suggest reading lots of reviews. This will give you a feel for how reviews are written and what to look for. And I love blogs, but I don't just mean read blogs. Read professional reviews. Read School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly-any professional review journals you can get your hands on. And I know many of them have locked up their reviews so you have to subscribe, but if you don't work in a library, you can always visit your local library and ask if you see their review journals. My library has them in our reference department and they are for library use only, but that doesn't mean a patron couldn't up and ask to read them in the library.

Most importantly, have fun! If you read critically all the time, you'll miss reading for fun. So take breaks, read something for you and that's for fun. And remember that you can do it and you have something valuable to say about each book you read.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Caldecott Storytime-Week 1

Since 2013 is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, I decided to theme all of my Spring storytimes around Caldecott Medal winners and honor books. Here's what we did for week one:

Theme: Night

Opening Song: Shake Your Sillies Out

Racing to Read Skill (early literacy skill): Talk & Read

Caldecott Talk-I spent time at the beginning of the storytime talking about the Caldecott Medal, how it is awarded by a group of librarians each January after reading lots and lots of books! The award has been around for 75 years and is given to the books that the committee thinks has the best illustrations and pictures of all the books that year. I also mentioned how you can find the Caldecott winners and honor books in our library (we have a special shelf of Caldecott winners) and I pointed out the nice shiny stickers the books get!

Read: Blackout by John Rocco-this is a great book to use for the talk & read skill-we talked a lot about the pictures, what was happening in each page, what you would do if the lights went out, how things wouldn't work anymore.

Read: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes-another one we talked a lot about-how could kitten get milk, was the moon made of milk, to which my favorite comment was "no, it's made of cheese!" We also compared the illustrations in the first book which were in color to this book which was in black and white. The kids liked both and enjoyed the stories in each book and didn't mind that one was in black and white.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner (I repeat this every week)

Read: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Sawnson, illustrated by Beth Krommes-We talked about how this book was also black and white with just a hint of color (gold) and how the gold gets brighter throughout the book.

Song/Parachute: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (I had a yellow ball that we tossed in the middle as kitten's moon)

-Tents for Blackout-I set up a couple of pop-up tents and books and the kids could go in the tents and read like in Blackout.
-Play dough-I needed another activity to spread the stations out, so I put out some play dough with some animal cookie cutters and we made kittens and moons.

Craft: Sun and Moon Popsicle Sticks-a super easy craft! I made sun diecuts and moon diecuts and we glued a moon on one side and a sun on the other. The kids decorated the sun and moon with crayons.

-How it Went: Overall this was a good introduction to our ongoing theme of Caldecotts. The kids kept saying "that one should win!" after each book, so they were very into the idea of deciding which book had the best pictures! I had parents who were interested in checking out the books after storytime, which is always a good sign. The favorite book from this session was Kitten's First Full Moon. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Picture Book Saturday

Too Shy for Show and Tell by Beth Bracken, illustrated by Jennifer Bell

About the Book: A young giraffe named Sam must overcome his shyness to share in show and tell.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Too Shy For Show and Tell is a must have in your picture book collection. The story and the artwork portray the feelings of being shy perfectly and children will relate to the story. Sam is afraid of speaking in class, but he's also very shy about opening up to those around him. The illustrator portrays this perfectly as you see Sam ducking his head and not being comfortable interacting with those around him. Slowly throughout the book he gains confidence and the illustrations reflect this as well. The text is simple and wonderful. It never talks down to the reader or makes them feel strange or bad about their shyness.

I was painfully shy as a kid and was just like Sam and I could relate to this book so much. The story is very sweet and eases into the subject of being brave without feeling like its pushing readers to not be shy. The subject matter is handled perfectly and I think shy kids will relate and appreciate this tale. Recommended for shy kids (and not so shy kids) in storytime and at home.

It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

About the Book: Have you seen a tiger around here? No? That's good! Oh no, wait a's a tiger!!

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I can't wait to use It's a Tiger in storytime. The story is simple-you're traveling through the jungle but keep running into a tiger.

The text of the story just invites reading along and acting out the story as it happens-you have to run through the jungle, into a cave, across a pile of leaves-there's so much to do. This is an energy filled story that is perfect to read aloud. The bright colors and interactive text make it a great pick for storytime. I would pair it with Going on a Bear Hunt for a very noisy storytime.

Friday, January 18, 2013

YA Movie News

-The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen is being adapted for the big screen by Paramount. Game of Thrones executive story editor Bryan Cogman has been hired to write the script, which I think is cool 1) I love Game of Thrones and think it's a great fit for this book and 2) it made my husband take notice and ask me about a MG/YA book! :)

-MTV has rumors about a screen test for Four for the upcoming Divergent movie. The film is set to be released on March 21, 2014.

-Entertainment Weekly has new stills from Catching Fire. I can't wait for this movie!! Who else is excited?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

TV in Books

I've come across some TV Tie-Ins that I've enjoyed so I thought I should share them with my fellow TV & book lovers!

The Bro Code for Parents: What to Expect When You're Awesome by Barney Stinson

Ok, so I was sold on this one because Neil Patrick Harris narrates the audiobook. Neil Patrick Harris really needs to narrate more because he is awesome.

Thanks to Netflix, I've recently become a fan of How I Met Your Mother, which after a long marathon, I am caught up on. The book is written by Barney and narrated by Barney, so be prepared for lots of laughs and Barney-appropriate baby advice. It's sure to make you laugh and maybe roll your eyes, but it's all out of Barney love, right? He even has new versions of songs to sing with your kids, new bro-approved stories to tell, and lots of helpful bro advice like when is the best time to conceive your child so you don't miss the Game of Thrones premiere.

A short, fun audiobook that would make a great gift to new and expecting parents who are fans of the show.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adult Reader's Advisory Help!!

As my committee work is coming to end later this month, I'm finding myself in the mood to branch out and read some palate cleansing books. I'm really in the mood to read some adult books, but I never read adult-I'm lucky if I read one or two adult titles a year. So I need your help.

What are some adult books you recommend I read as a good palate cleanser? I'm up for anything! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tween Tuesday: Feedback from Chat & Chew Book Clubs

In Missouri, we have a state book award for fourth-sixth grade called the Mark Twain Award. This year my library has partnered with seven area elementary schools for a program we call Chat & Chew. Each month we meet with a group of fourth & fifth graders to talk about a selected book from the Mark Twain list (chat) while the kids eat lunch (chew). It's been a lot of fun and the kids have had lots of great feedback about the books we've read so far. I thought I'd share some real tween comments about the books we've read. You'll see the comments grow as we went on-the more Chat & Chew discussions we had, the more the kids wanted to talk about the books.

-"There's a character in this book that everyone can relate to." 
-"I want a teacher like Mr. Terupt."
-"I liked the ending." (spoilers here, so I can't say much-but they all LOVED the ending! :)
-"I hope Mr. Terupt gets a girlfriend in the sequel."
-"Dollar words are interesting."

-Overall the groups loved this book. They were excited it had a sequel, they loved the characters and didn't want to stop talking about this one. I think from the first semester of Chat & Chew meetings, this book was the favorite.

-"It was so funny!"
-"I liked that the hippo pooped on people!!"
(minor spoiler!)-"The hippo guts were really funny!"
-"I was surprised by who did really did it-I thought it was (fill in the blank of every other character in the story-no one guessed it correctly)
-"Summer was kind of mean-I didn't really like her."-There were lots of mixed reactions to Summer, if she was a good friend or not-this led to lots of great discussion.
-"I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next."

-Obviously, the humor and gross out parts of this one made this one a popular pick.

-"I really liked all the girls." (It was fun to talk about which character we thought we were most like)
-"I loved the colors at the start of each chapter and how they related to what was happening in the story." -"The color names were really cool."
-"It was sad but happy at the same time."/"I liked the mix of happy and sad in the story."
-"I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next in the journal."
-"Helen's journal was the best part-I liked the mystery of the journal."
-"The joke about influenza was really mean." (several of the groups pointed this out which really surprised me that they picked up on it so strongly.)
-"I want a Palace Beautiful of my own!"
-"I loved the ending!"-another one I don't want to spoil, but they all loved the ending and thought it was perfect.

-I thought this one would have mostly tween girl appeal, but all the groups had at least one boy in attendance and they liked the book and weren't turned off by the cover. They all said the best part was the journal and wanting to find out what happened next to Helen and her family.

-"Melody is such a great character! She's so smart and funny!"
-"I was really worried at the part with her sister and wondered why Melody was making so much noise." (They were all very concerned at this point in the book and each group mentioned it multiple times.)
-"Some of Melody's teachers didn't treat her well and babied her."
-"It was sad that no one believed that Melody was smart."
-"The part with the trivia contest made me so mad!!!" (There was a lot of emotion surrounding a certain scene in the book that I won't spoil, but it was great to  talk about and hear that the tweens were upset as I was!)
-"In a sequel I think Melody would compete in another trivia contest and show everyone how smart she is."
-"This book made me think about the kids in my school differently and how they're trying to communicate with us."
-"This book made think about standing up to people who are being mean."

-I think Out of My Mind was our second favorite of the semester and it gave us a lot of great discussion. I was really impressed on how thoughtful the discussion was. Each group said it made them think about kids in their school differently and saying hi to them and not being mean.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Comment Challenge

The Comment Challenge is back! Lee Wind at I'm Here, I'm Queer, What Do I Read?  and Pam at Mother Reader have brought back the comment challenge for 2013!

The idea is to comment five times on blogs each day for 21 days to create a habit of commenting and creating a community in the blogging world. I'm hoping I can start reading my blog feed again this year-I've really lacked in that in 2012 due to all my committee reading. I love leaving comments for bloggers and I love participating in the comment challenge, so we'll see if I can keep up the challenge this year!

You can find the sign up at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What Do I Read? I hope you join in and comment away!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mock Caldecott

On Saturday my library hosted our very first Mock Award Event. I decided to do a Mock Caldecott because I wanted to start everyone out with some lighter reading and picture books are always fun to talk about with all ages! I had flyers made up with our shortlist, spread the word to librarians and teachers, and told patrons as they came into the library about the event. I was also very lucky that a friend of mine who had served on the Caldecott Committee was able to come down and facilitate our discussion. I really was expecting a small crowd-I thought I'd be lucky with a turn out of five people. We'd never done a Mock Awards program and I wasn't sure if it would go over well.

So imagine my surprise when we packed out the room with 41 people!!! We had all ages-kids, parents, college students, teachers, librarians-it was great. Hearing the feedback from everyone was awesome and the kids had such great things to say about each book!

I gave the group a shortlist of 14 titles to read and discuss and at the beginning we voted to eliminate half the titles to make our discussion a bit smoother. From there we talked about the books we had left-we got our list down to 9 books to talk about. Then after all the books had been talked about, we voted and came up with one winner and three honor books. Our Mock Caldecott picks were:


Honor Books:

We'll see how well we match up to the Real Committee when the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced on January 28th!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Read Just One Day in a One Day Marathon

Penguin Teen has an awesome new promotion for Gayle Forman's latest book, Just One Day. Starting on Friday, January 11, you can read the book along with others and talk about it on Twitter, using the #JustOneDay hashtag. Then on Saturday, January 12, Gayle will be on Twitter to chat about the book from 7-8 EST.

I'm a huge fan of Gayle Forman's previous books If I Stay and Where She Went and I can't wait to read Just One Day. I hope you're as excited as I am and can join the Twitter chat-there's nothing better than talking with other readers about books!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tween Tuesday: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Tween Tuesday is a meme that highlights great reads for tweens! Join the fun and add your link below.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Release Date: 8/7/2012

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About the Book: Georges (the S is silent) and his family have had to downsize to an apartment. The day they move in, Georges and his father notice a sign that advertises a spy club meeting and Georges's father encourages Georges to join. Georges meets Safer and his younger sister Candy who live in the building and are spying on a mysterious occupant, Mr. X.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I wasn't a big fan of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, so I was a bit nervous about reading this book-I was really hoping I would like it. Happily I discovered a novel that I enjoyed.

Liar & Spy has a mystery element to it, but it's also about friendship, family, bullying, and fear. Georges is picked on at school, his family is having some trouble, and he's had to move out of a house he loved. Safer has secrets of his own and Georges isn't sure how to react and handle them once he finds out. I think what I liked most about Liar & Spy was the fact that the author covered a lot of issues without the book feeling heavy handed and issue-driven. The messages about lying, fear, and standing up to bullies are all woven in in a subtle way that doesn't hit the reader over the head. This is a book that features a bullying element, not book about bullying. For me, that was one of the strengths of the story-everything felt like a natural reaction from the characters.

I loved the family aspect of the book-Georges's family and Safer's. Both stood out and it was great to see supportive families. As an adult, I liked the adults in this book, which might not matter to many tweens, but I appreciated it.

I think tweens who are avid readers and who enjoy a softer mystery element to their stories would appreciate Liar & Spy. There are several surprises along the way for readers. I would love to use this book in a book club or classroom read aloud and see if readers can predict the story. Liar & Spy is a great book to share with tweens and read together.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC recieved at ALA

Monday, January 7, 2013

What I've Learned From My Committee Year

All throughout the past year, people have asked me how my reading and committee work has been going. Even though I expected it to be a lot of work, a lot of reading, and yes, some stress, those things still surprised me as they came. As my committee year is coming to a close-(make sure to watch the live Youth Media Awards Announcement on Monday January 28!) I thought I'd share some things I've learned throughout my year. A lot of these I knew going in, but I still had a learning process as I had to experience them for myself. It's one to hear from others what it will be like and another to experience for yourself!

-It's a lot of work. Yes, that seems like a given, especially since you know going in it's going to be a lot of work. And it's what anyone who has served on a committee before will tell you. But you don't seem to realize it until your mailbox is overflowing, you're faced with a huge TBR pile, and a deadline on top of working full time. You have no more free time-and if you do, you have to schedule it very well. This might mean skipping out events or leaving early. Luckily for me, I have amazing friends and family who understand when I have to leave a party early or can't come hang out. Having an awesome support system around you helps a lot!

-Take some reading breaks and refreshers. One of the best pieces of advice I got before I started was to make sure to take time to read something other than what I have to read for committee. Read picture books or adult books-just something different to refresh your reading. I typically shy away from adult fiction, but this year I've loved it because it's been a nice reading refresher for me.

-Once you start critical reading, it doesn't leave you. In between all my committee work, I still had other things I needed to read for work or as a reading break. I was reading a middle grade book for a book club at the library-far from what I was reading for committee. As I read, I noticed myself taking mental notes of the book-what was working, what wasn't, characterization, setting, story-everything. I had to remind myself as I read that I didn't need to be taking notes! It had become such a habit to read critically that even when I tried to read for pleasure, I still had a critical mindset.

-You must be open about your reading.-Committee work means setting aside your personal favorites and being open about your reading. There are some genres that I love and others that aren't my personal favorites. But as a committee member, I have to read everything-even if it's something I might not pick up to read on my own. Your reading has to be much wider and open. I've loved this aspect of my committee year because it's forced me out of my reading bubbles and made me explore more.

-It's OK if you get tired of reading. I heard from so many other committee members who have served previous years on various committees who said "oh, I  didn't touch a book for six months after we were done!" At first that idea sounded so odd-how could I not want to read?? But let me tell you, after January 28, I might not touch a book again for several months-and that's OK! It's OK to feel tired (that's why reading refreshers are so great!) but it's also OK to take a break to something that's not reading-again, this is where managing your time well comes in handy. Find what's a nice reward for your hard work-I love playing Just Dance or playing board games. Give yourself time to refresh and then it's back to work!

-Don't stress-and when you feel like you're stressing, reach out to that awesome support community. I am very lucky to have amazing friends and family support me throughout this year. When I've felt stressed, I've vented a bit about how I don't think I can do it and there's so much reading still looming. The response back from my cheerleaders-in person and online-has been wonderful. It's so great to hear from others that you can do it-and you know you can!

-Enjoy it. Yes, it's overwhelming. Yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, it's a lot of reading. Yes, you might not have a social life at times. Yes, you might get tired of reading. Yes, you may feel stressed. But is it all worth it? Yes. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 YA & Children's Books to Movies

Here's a list of all the great books to movies coming out in 2013!! I'm stretching the list a bit to include comics (anyone else notice a rise in the interest in superheroes at their library each time a new superhero movie comes out? I notice this a lot, especially in the preschool and tween demographic) and some classics. I'll try to update as other release dates are added.


Struck by Lightning-OK, so this one was a movie first, and then a book, but still I'm counting it!-novel inspired by the movie


Beautiful Creatures-based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Oz: The Great and Powerful-loosely inspired by the Oz Series by L. Frank Baum
The Host-based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer


Iron Man 3-inspired by the Iron Man comics
The Great Gatsby-based on the novel F. Scott Fitzgerald (not technically YA, but read in many high school English classes)
Epic-loosely inspired by the picture book The Leaf Man and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce

Much Ado About Nothing-based on the play by Shakespeare  (again, another one that's not technically YA, but a high school English classic)
Man of Steel-inspired by the Superman comics

The Wolverine-inspired by the X-Men comics

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters-based on the novel by Rick Riordan
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones-based on the novel by Cassandra Clare

Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers-loosely inspired by the picture book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

The Seventh Son-based on the novel Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Ender's Game-based on the novel by Orson Scott Card
Thor: The Dark World-based on the Thor comics
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire-based on the novel by Suzanne Collins
Frozen-loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug-based on the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty-based on the story by James Thurber
Saving Mr. Banks-not a book, but instead a movie about a book being turned into  a movie. Based on the story of author P.L. Travers and the movie adaptation of her novel, Mary Poppins

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Library Programs: Building Block Picture Book Award Voting Party Part 2

Each year the Missouri Library Association chooses a list of picture books to be the shortlist for the Building Block Picture Book Award. The books are chosen by librarians and are for ages birth-five. The purpose of the award is to encourage reading aloud, help develop pre-reading skills and introduce children, parents and caregivers to a variety of authors and titles. The books are voted on by kids.

This year we had a large poster of all the nominees displayed in the department along with ballots for the kids to vote for their favorite. I also decided to host a voting party in December, the month all the votes are due. I set up our storyhour room with activities and stations as well as displayed all the nominated titles and encouraged patrons to come and go throughout the day, read the books, do some crafts, and vote on the book they liked most. It was lots of fun and I hope to repeat the program with next years list. Here's what I did for the 2012 list:

Station 6: If You're Hoppy and You Know It by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

-Act like animals. I found this rhyme (and I'm a terrible librarian and did not site my source on my notes!) and had the kids say the rhyme and act it out:

”Hop Like a Bunny Rhyme”
Hop like a bunny (hop)
Run like a dog (run in place)
Walk like an elephant (hold one arm in front like a trunk and sway back and forth)
Jump like a frog (squat down with hands on floor and hop)
Swim like a goldfish (hold palms together and move hands in swimming motion)
Fly like a bird (flap arms up and down at your side)
Then sit right down and don’t say a word (sit down)

-What other animals can you pretend to be?

Station 7: Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow by Susan A. Shea, illustrated by Tom Slaughter

-Grow or not grow? I printed out pictures from clipart half of things that grow (children, flowers, animals, etc) and half of things that don't (telephone, couch, bed, chair, etc) The kids got to guess which ones would grow and which ones wouldn't just like the book. If I had had more time, I might have written our rhymes to along with each picture.

Station 8: Is Everyone Ready for Fun by Jan Thomas

-Finger puppets Jan Thomas has an awesome website with lots of activities for librarians and teachers. I used the finger puppets that go with the book so the kids could make finger puppets and act out the story.

Station 9: Press Here by Herve Tullet

-Make your own Press Here book. We have a large stash of dot stickers, so I put those out along with paper and crayons so kids could make their own version of Press Here. This was the most popular book (and had the most votes in the end from my Library!) and this was the favorite activity of the day.

Overall the event was a success, easy to run, and worked well as a drop in program. I can't wait to see what books the committee chooses so I can start planning this years event.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Library Programs: Building Block Picture Book Award Voting Party: Part 1

Each year the Missouri Library Association chooses a list of picture books to be the shortlist for the Building Block Picture Book Award. The books are chosen by librarians and are for ages birth-five. The purpose of the award is to encourage reading aloud, help develop pre-reading skills and introduce children, parents and caregivers to a variety of authors and titles. The books are voted on by kids.

This year we had a large poster of all the nominees displayed in the department along with ballots for the kids to vote for their favorite. I also decided to host a voting party in December, the month all the votes are due. I set up our storyhour room with activities and stations as well as displayed all the nominated titles and encouraged patrons to come and go throughout the day, read the books, do some crafts, and vote on the book they liked most. It was lots of fun and I hope to repeat the program with next years list. Here's what I did for the 2012 list:

Station 1: Mitchell's License by Hallie Durand, illustrated by Tony Fucile

-Car racetrack. We have large rolls of butcher paper, so I taped a long sheet of paper across the floor. I put crayons out for kids to draw their own roads and paths along with some plush cars to race down the tracks.

Station 2: The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore and Dog in Boots by Greg Gormley, illustrated by Roberta Angaramo

-Read to stuffed animals. Both of these books feature animals and a love of stories, so I set up some stuffed animals around the books for a reading station.

Station 3: I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs

-I Spy Game. My wonderful volunteer made me a giant I Spy collage using animal pictures from magazines.

Station 4: Rrralph by Lois Ehlert

-Make your own Rrralph collage. This was a great way to use up scraps of fabric and paper. I provided large sheets of paper, crayons, glues and random scraps of paper, fabric, and anything else I could find to make a collage.

Station 5: Hugless Douglas by David Melling

-Give a hug. The endpapers of this book feature sheep trying out all sorts of hugs (group hug, sideways hug, etc), so this station asked kids to give parents to give their kids a hug like the sheep.

Stay tuned-I'll post part two of our voting party tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cybils Make a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! In the blogging world, January 1st also means the day the finalists are posted for the Cybils Awards. So head on over to the Cybils site and check out the lists as they are posted today. I can't wait to see what makes the shortlists in each category!! And congrats to all the bloggers who served as judges this year on all your hard work!
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