Thursday, February 28, 2013

Judge A Book By It's Cover: Hardcover to Paperback

Sometimes paperback covers can be for the better and sometimes they can be for the worse. Here are some  recent cover changes I've seen:

First up, Code Name Verity, a book that is near and dear to my heart.

That shiny sticker looks so pretty, doesn't it? I like this cover, but the paperback is really growing on me:

I'll admit at first I hated it, but the more I look at it the more I like it. There's just something so beautiful about this cover. 

Here's another one I really like. The hardcover for The Catastrophic History of You and Me makes sense with the book, but I just don't like the way it looks as a whole and I'm not sure why. I think it's the fact that I don't like the dress.

But I really like this paperback cover, even if it does look a bit like other covers. It's just simple and beautiful  

Here's one I really dislike. I love the hardcover for Keeping the Castle:

But the paperback looks so childish!

It really looks more like a middle grade novel now and the main character looks so young and a bit Disney character-ish. It's a cute cover, just not for this book.

Here's another cover change I'm not a huge fan of. I really liked the hardcover for Throne of Glass:

It looks like it's got a cool kick butt girl on the cover. 

And now here's the new paperback:

I guess she still looks pretty kick butt, but she looks like a cross between Lara Croft and an anime character. I almost expect the content inside to be a graphic novel.

Ok, let's talk about the evolution of a cover over the years. What My Mother Doesn't Know was one of the first books I read when I started reading YA lit and it remains one of my favorites. Here's the original cover from 2001 that I checked out from my library:

The cover got a makeover in 2003 in paperback:

And here's the latest cover makeover for 2013:

I have to say I like all three covers, even if the last one does look a bit like all the other contemporary YA covers that are coming out right now. I do like how it looks with the sequel, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know:

Now for a book that's new but that has still undergone a complete makeover. Here's the original hardcover for Gilt:

Now, the paperback that was supposed to be:

But that paperback isn't happening and it's had yet another makeover. Here's the newest paperback cover:

Author Katherine Longshore has a great blog post about the evolution of her covers and why they changed.

I think all three covers are great and really like the new paperback look.

So what do you think of these cover changes? Good or bad?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Youth Services: Working Together

When I was at ALA Midwinter, I attended a discussion on storytimes. As a youth services manager, I oversee ages birth-18 and part of my job includes doing two or more storytimes a week. I attended this session with a friend of mine who is also a youth services manager and who was proudly wearing a YALSA ribbon on her badge. When we walked in, someone expressed surprise (in a somewhat snarky manner) at the fact that a YALSA member would be interested in storytime.


Why can't I be part of both children's and teen services and work with all ages? Why do children's and teen services have to apart? Why can't they work together?

Maybe because I have always worked closely with both children's and teen departments, but they never seemed separate to me. I've worked in children's and teen services and see both of them as part of my job as a youth services librarian. I always have. Yet in the library world children's and teen services are often viewed as seperate and competing and don't always get along-and I'm not sure why.

A couple of years ago, my library made a change to combine children's and teen and that created the position I have now as youth services manager. I oversee a staff that works in youth services. I will admit that it has been tricky at times transitioning and making sure staff feel trained enough in both children's and teen services. There are times I feel like glorified children's department manager who just gets to hear what's happening in teen. And it can be hard at times to get staff to remember they don't just work with one age group, but a larger group now. But we're getting there. We are working together to create one cohesive department that works as a whole. We program share, help each other cover desks, and have a larger group to bounce ideas off of than if we were separated. 

To me, youth services as a whole makes sense. Children's and teen services have many of the same goals. We want children and teens to use the library and become lifelong patrons of the library. We want them to see the value of the library in their lives. We want to enrich their lives with the services we provide at the library. We provide programming, reader's advisory and homework help. We are often not understood by other departments because our patrons are children who don't pay taxes or who don't write thank you notes and checks to the library. Instead they give feedback and thanks by singing along happily in storytime, saying hi to the library lady in the grocery store, volunteering their time as part of a teen advisory board and making duct tape wallets for the billionth time at a program.

So why don't we work with each other more? 

I know that ALSC has been around much longer than YALSA and teen services is still somewhat of a new idea in libraries. (Which honestly is just crazy! How long do we need to talk about the importance of teen services before it's accepted as part of the library?) I will admit that I have been involved in YALSA more than I have ALSC, but that doesn't mean I don't see the value in both organizations. I am involved with both divisions. I'm a member of both divisions, and I value both divisions. I work with both age groups these divisions target.

Even though my department is youth services, I still have designated staff that specialize in storytime or teen services. I understand that there are librarians who might specialize in one age group over another. I understand that working with one age group over another might not be your strong suit. Or even your passion. But that doesn't mean we don't jump in and help the other department or age group when needed. I do storytime in the morning and then turn around and help with a teen night after hours the next night. I do a book club for elementary students one day and then plan a life size game day for tweens and teens.  I read picture books and plan storytime and read young adult nonfiction that would be great for homework help. I make Caldecott, Newbery and Printz pedictions all in the same reader's advisory training. My job is to work with all youth-ages birth-18.  So where is the respect and support for each other in our various divisions and departments? Why do we instead treat each other like it's a competition? Why can't we work with each other and help each out? Why can't we be youth services and create something together?

Teen services are often considered the black sheep of library services at times. Whereas children's services has been around long enough that it's a known and accepted part of library services. If you tell someone you're a children's librarian, they know what you mean (even if all they think is you read books to kids). If you tell someone you're a teen librarian, they don't know what you're talking about. Yet working in both departments, we have the same goals. Why do we have to push against each other and fight each other and stay in our selected age group bubbles? Why can't we all work together? 

When my husband tuned into the Youth Media Awards Announcements this year (because he's amazing and wanted to support my work on the Printz Committee) he told me afterwards that he thought it was strange that the Printz Award was announced in the middle instead of at the end with the Newbery and Caldecott. He pointed out that if it's a major literary award, shouldn't it be included with the other two major literary awards, despite the sponsoring division? I honestly didn't have a good answer for him other than, umm, well, that way the division President only has to get up and speak one time? Again, I wonder about the respect that we get as a whole. Why are teen and children's services viewed separately and at times with a dislike of each other?

I'm not saying that ALA needs to change and create one giant youth services division. But I am saying that the idea that children's and teen librarians don't get along or don't work together needs to change. I think we're getting there-we have joint receptions at ALA, we share the Youth Media Awards Annoucements. But I would love to see more collaboration and support in youth services. There is so much we can gain and learn from each other by working together.

I want to be accepted as a youth services librarian who works with ages birth-18 and can work with babies and teenagers because that's my job. Let's respect each other. Let's support each other. And let's work together.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blog Tour: How to Lead a Life of Crime

Class is now in session at the Mandel Academy, the school for criminals in Kirsten Miller’s new book, How to Lead a Life of Crime! To help you solidify your schedule for the semester, we’re highlighting different class options each day along the tour. Choose your favorites, pick up a copy of How to Lead a Life of Crime, and enroll in the Mandel Academy today!

About the Book: 

A Meth Dealer. A Prostitute. A Serial Killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

Excerpt from the Mandel Academy course catalog:

Human Trafficking in the Internet Age
The international trade in human beings is a booming industry, and the Internet has made it safer and more lucrative than ever before. Learn how to set up shop online using Deep Web resources—or riskier classifieds sites. Recruit employees, procure goods, and attract potential customers. An excellent course for Technology and Leisure Studies majors.

Where to find more Mandel Academy course highlights: 

Thursday, 2/21: Mundie Moms
Friday, 2/22: Books With Bite
Monday, 2/25: Parajunkee's View
Tuesday, 2/26: GreenBeanTeenQueen
Wednesday, 2/27: Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
Thursday, 2/28: The Young Folks
Friday, 3/1: Alice Marvels
Monday, 3/4: Fiktshun
Tuesday, 3/5: Ticket to Anywhere
Wednesday, 3/6: Birth of a New Witch

Find Kirsten Miller Online: Website | Blog | Twitter

Monday, February 25, 2013

Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: 1/22/2013

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About the Book: During World War Two, soldiers are fighting against discrimination and injustice. Yet prejudice was happening on the home front in America as black soldiers were not being integrated into the army and many were given service jobs. A group of soldiers fought back against this injustice and formed the 555th-an all black soldier unit that trained to become paratroopers.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really like Tanya Lee Stone's nonfiction. It's easy to read, accessible for a wide range of readers (this could easily be given to fifth grade students and high school students) and the detail is obvious. I'm not an avid reader of nonfiction. In fact, it's one area I struggle with as a librarian because it's so out of my reading comfort zone. But Courage Has No Color is an incredible story that pulled me in. This is a book that I think readers of nonfiction will enjoy, but is a great gateway into nonfiction for those who are reluctant to try something other than fiction. The text is written in a nice narrative format with lots of quotes and details, yet I never felt as though it got bogged down in dates and facts that I got lost.

I love when I learn something new about a history and this is a story that needs to be told. The story of Triple Nickles, the name the 555th unit gave themselves, is inspiring. This group of brave men stood up for what they believed and decided to show the Army that they deserved equality and could do the work of a soldier. In the author's note, Ms. Stone mentions how this book was her hardest to write because the history of the Triple Nickles was scattered. Her extensive research shows throughout the writing and I think the book is especially strong because of the many first person accounts Ms. Stone is able to pull from. There are many black and white photographs throughout the book that compliment the text and add to the overall story.

This is an excellent addition to nonfiction collections and a story that needs to be told. These brave men paved the way for equality in the military and their story is exciting and engaging.

Book Pairings: Bomb by Steve Sheinkin (for a great pairing of World War Two history), Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone (for a pairing of untold inspiring stories)

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy sent to me by the publisher

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Caldecott Storytime: Week 5

For the Winter storytimes, I've themed all of my preschool storytimes around Caldecott winners and honor books. You can read all my Caldecott storytime plans here.

For week five, I did a bathtime/water storytime.
Opening Song: Where is Thumbkin by The Wiggles
Literacy Skill: Love Books (especially because one of the books this week is my favorite!)


The kids really enjoyed this book and I had great interaction from them as we named all the animals we saw and made animal sounds. They all agreed the pictures in this book were very good.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

This is one of my all time favorite books and maybe my top Caldecott winning book. As a kid I would pour over the pages looking at all the details in the illustrations. I'm lucky that my library owns a big book copy of this one so it's even more fun to read in storytime. The kids and parents cracked up at this book and they loved looking at each page pointing out all the details of the pictures. I told them that the pictures in this book were very cool and they all agreed. 

Rhyme: Little Yellow Duck from The Big Book of Stories, Songs and Sing-Alongs by Beth Maddigan

If I were a yellow duck, yellow duck, yellow duck,
If I were a yellow duck, this is what I'd do.

I'd give a little "quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack."
I'd give a little "quack, quack, quack" That is what I'd do.

I'd flap my wings with a flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap,
I'd flap my wings with a flap, flap, flap, and say goodbye to you.

I planned to do this rhyme with the kids, but silly me put the bag of rubber duckies under the table and not quite out of view, so when we started talking about ducks, one child saw the rubber duckies and wanted one, and then another child wanted one and then another, so I had to quickly transition from the rhyme to our rubber ducky song. Ah well-we'll do the rhyme another time!

Song: Rubber Ducky by Ernie from Sesame Street 

I told the kids there was a very famous song about rubber duckies and we were going to sing along to it and dance with the rubber duckies. I passed out rubber duckies and we danced with the duckies making them swim up high, down low, from side and side and pretended to splash in the water.

Song: The Freeze Dance by Greg and Steve

Because dancing with rubber duckies was so much fun, we danced the freeze dance with the ducks too!

We made version of this rubber duck in the bath from Storytime Katie


-Duck Pond-I was brave and put out a sensory tub of water (on a large mat!) and let the kids fill it with the rubber ducks. They loved it and didn't splash too much.

-Bubble blocks-we have these very cool wooden blocks filled with colored bubbles that I put out for stacking and building

How it went: Aside from the kids getting excited about the rubber ducks and skipping the rhyme, this storytime was lots of fun. The parents got a kick of how I moved from one rhyme to our duck song, but you just gotta go with the flow! Next time I'll hide the ducks better! :) 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Picture Book Saturday: Royal Stories

The King Who Wouldn't Sleep by Debbie Singleton, illustrated by Holly Swain

Rating: 4/5 Stars

The king very protective of the princess and would not sleep until he found the perfect prince for his daughter. But he is outwitted by a farmer who knows of the perfect way to get the king to fall asleep!

This is fun, humorous bedtime story about getting kings (and kids) to fall asleep. I love the illustrations which have a nice cartoon feel. This would be a great read for a bedtime storytime. And I really love that the princess finds love not with a prince but with someone else. Yay for common folk! :)

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett, illustrations by Poly Bernatene

Rating: 5/5 Stars

A princess and a pig switch places which ends up causing a lot of craziness! 

This is one of my new favorite princess books! The story is hilarious and the fun cartoon-style illustrations add to the humor. I mean, a big in a princess dress? How can you not crack up? I really love how the characters keep referencing "this is the sort of thing that happens in books"-this book would be perfect for storytime, just prepare for lots of laughing. Plus, it has an ending that would those that are anti-princess proud. Pair this with The Paper Bag Princess for a new take on princess tales.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day in the Life of a Librarian

 Here's a look into what it's like to be a librarian!

8:00-Arrive at work to get storytime stickers for outreach visit, drive to first Chat & Chew group at local middle school.

8:15-8:45-First Chat & Chew book group with 5th and 6th grade. We're discussing Drizzle this month. We have four students for our discussion.

8:45-9:00-Drive to next outreach visit.

9:00-9:45-Two outreach storytimes for local elementary school Wonderyears (preschool) classes. The outreach storytimes include books and songs and since I go to the same classroom every month, I always get greeted as the library lady!

9:45-10:00-Drive to next outreach visit.

10:00-11:15-Outreach storytime visit to local daycare-visit five classrooms ranging in age from 2-5. More books and songs and greetings of "it's the library lady!"


11:50-12:00-Drive to next outreach visit.

12:00-Arrive at Chat & Chew for 4th grade at local elementary school. This will be my second discussion of Drizzle for the day.

12:10-12:50-Chat & Chew discussion. We have five students arrive to eat lunch and talk about Drizzle. (We typically have around nine for this group, but not all of them read the book this time around!)

12:50-1:00-Drive back to the library.

1:00-1:30-Arrive back at the library, check in with staff. On this day we were getting new furniture installed, so I checked in with my manager about where we were in the new furniture installation. Check email and voicemail messages.

1:30-2:15-Meet with manager for catch up meeting about next years conference budget requests and department requests.

2:15-4:00-Because of the furniture installation, we had to close down our department. We had carts of books outside our department entrance, so I kept watch at the front to see if there was anything I could retrieve for people inside our department and explained we were doing some remodeling and that we would be open again the next day. I also shelved picture books.

4:00-4:30-Clean up and straighten up department for tomorrow, check email, head home!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tween Tuesday: Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Genre: Magical Realism

Release Date: 3/4/2010

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About the Book: Polly Peabody lives on a magical farm. They grow chocolate rhubarb, it rains every Monday at exactly 1:00, and her best friend is a plant named Harry. When the rain stops, Polly's brother falls ill, and her aunt wants to sell the farm, Polly must figure out a way to save her beloved home.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Drizzle is on our state book list and one of our Chat & Chew book club picks. The kids reviews were mixed on this one and sadly, it was my least favorite of all the books we read for Chat & Chew.

The kids that liked it said it had action, but for me the plot was slow and dragged too much. The book could have been edited down and I lost interest in the story. I liked the magical farm that Polly lived on, but the magic wasn't enough to hold my interest. I felt like the plot went around in circles too much and never got going. The ending was also a bit of a let down after waiting for so long to get the story going.

Some of the tweens enjoyed it and I think it will find readership with tweens who are avid readers and are interested in books that have a touch of magic and a family-centered story. It just wasn't the right book for me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Post Downton Abbey Reading List

Downton Abbey is over (with a shocking and frustrating ending!) and now I'm suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal. I've got a reading list full of books that I hope will satisfy my post-Downton Abbey cravings and I thought I'd share what's in my pile and get suggestions for other after Downton reads. Here's what I hope to be reading this year (a mix of YA and adult titles):



                 A couple Julian Fellowes reads:


 And a few re-reads:


Edited to add:

What's on your Post-Downton Abbey reading list?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Caldecott Storytimes: Week 4

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, I am doing Caldecott themed storytimes with my preschool storytime group this semester. Read about my previous Caldecott storytimes here.

Theme: For week four I decided to go with a getting dressed/snow theme hoping that by this far into the Winter months, snow might have fallen. Sadly, we still haven't gotten much snow in Missouri, but we still had fun in storytime!

Opening Song: Where is Thumbkin by The Wiggles

Literacy Skill:  Talk & Read


-The kids liked this book as it has a repetitive line about what Ella Sarah wants to wear. They caught on and told the story along with me.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner (we sing this every week)


-This is one of my favorites and the kids loved it. They really liked figuring out that Peter's snowball melted in his pocket.

Rhyme: Cloudy Days from The Big Book of Stories, Songs, and Sing-Alongs: Programs for Babies, Toddlers and Families by Beth Maddigan
 (Do the actions along with the words)

The day is cloudy and the wind is bold.
Dress up warmly, you mustn't get cold.
Put on your coat and zip it up tight,
Put on your left boot and put on your right.
Put on your scarf and put on your hat,
Put on your mittens and clap, clap, clap!
Go outside and play, play, play
Come in again and then we'll say-
Take off your coat that was zipped up tight,
Take off your left boot, take off your right.
Take off your scarf, take off your hat,
Take off your mittens then take a nap!

Song:  Snowflakes Falling by Brighter Visions 
-I had the kids dance and twirl like snowflakes


-Thanks to Pinterest for the snow hat craft! I used small paper plates instead of full size since that's what I had on hand. Mine were not as fancy as the picture-instead I just used crayons and cotton balls for the kids to decorate their hats.


-Getting dressed puzzles
-Getting dressed dolls & zipper, button, and snaps dolls (we have a collection of dolls that have buttons, snaps and zippers for our getting dressed storytime tub)

How it Went: The books this week were a bit hit-they loved both picks and said the pictures in both were really good. I would have added another book, Snow by Uri Shulevitz but my copy didn't come in on time for storytime. 

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