Friday, March 29, 2013

YA Movie News

-So the first Percy Jackson movie might have been a terrible adaptation of book to movie. I went and saw it opening night with Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I remember all the tweens saying "that was awful!" as we left the theater. Yet, that doesn't stop my excitement over Sea of Monsters. Mostly because Nathan Fillion is Hermes because, well, it's Nathan Fillion!! (Also, I think it's hilarious that Indiewire called it "The Sequel You Forgot Was Being Made.")

-I'm really loving this poster for Ender's Game!

-ABC Family has ordered a spin-off of Pretty Little Liars called Ravenswood. The new series would start on Halloween. Thanks to Cynopsis for the news.

So, not much this week. Any other cool news to share?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day in the Life a Librarian

Let's call today's day in the life post, Day in the Life of a Youth Services Manager. As a manager, I'm always attending meetings. It just so happens that one day out of the month, several of my meetings all fall on the same day and it makes for a very long and exhausting day! Here's what my meeting day looked like last Thursday:

7:50 AM-Leave for work earlier than usual since I need to be driving out to a county branch for my first meeting.

8:20 AM-Arrive at county branch for meeting. Before meeting check out book the branch had set aside for me for tomorrows storytime (my copy got checked out by a young patron and luckily this branch had another copy!), deliver a box of ARCs for our teen review board, and bring in a stash of big books to exchange with other branches.

8:30 AM-Meeting starts! This is our monthly youth services meeting for all of our youth services managers, full time youth services staff, and young adult librarians. We spent our meeting talking about our upcoming summer reading program, gave overviews of training staff had attended, and talked about ways to market librarians as experts to our patrons and how we can better serve our communities.

10:00 AM-Short break and exchange of big books between branches. Each branch has a storytime collection of large books and we wanted to rotate some around to refresh our collections.

10:20 AM-Next meeting is up! This time it's for our early literacy committee. We talked about our new summer reading program for little ones, what we can do to refresh our storytime tub collections (our ready to go storytime resource collections), and talked about how we're doing with reaching patrons with our early literacy initiative.

11:50-Meeting is over. Now time to head back to my library branch. The longer drive means more time to listen to my audiobook which is a plus! I also decide that since I won't have much time for lunch, I'll stop on my way back to work and grab something to eat. Good thing too, since I found out our meeting time got changed!

12:40-1:00-Arrive back at work, eat a quick lunch.

1:00-Third meeting for the day. This time it's our biweekly supervisor's meeting. All of our branch supervisor's get together with our branch manager to talk about what is happening at the branch, news we need to know from the administrative staff meetings, and give updates on our departments.

2:30-Now it's time for me to meet with my branch manager. I meet with her after our youth services meetings to update her on the going ons of the youth services departments and what we talked about at our meeting. This is also my chance to get her feedback on any issues I have in my department-we talked about furniture and creating reading spaces because I had just attended a training on early literary spaces and we recently had a department remodel. I'm very lucky to have a great rapport with my branch manager and we always end up having fun brainstorming new (and sometimes grand) ideas for youth services. We're both big dreamers and we work well together to make those dreams happen. It's a lot of fun!

3:40-Done with meetings for the day! Back to my desk for the first time that day. I greet staff and catch them up on the notes from the earlier meetings of the day. I also find out what has been happening with them, how the department has been for the day.

4:00-Open email and feel a bit overwhelmed at the amount of messages waiting for me in my inbox! Respond to the messages I need to reply to and sort through the rest of the messages (I love email folders-this makes my life so much easier!)

4:30-We recevied some books for our teen review board as well as some book requests, so I add the new books to the database, respond to the book requests, and mail off books to the various branches so the teens who requested them can read them.

5:00-Clean up desk and go home!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trends in Publishing: Bird Watching

So I normally post about trends I see happening in YA, but here's a trend that is happening across the board:  bird watching. It took me by surprise-who knew bird watching would become so book trendy? But check it out:


Middle Grade:

(not totally about bird watching, but features bird watching characters)

(This one appears to be self published, which I don't typically include,but I thought it was interesting how it fit the theme)

Young Adult: 


Have you noticed birds in your books lately?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hilary McKay Lulu Blog Tour

Please welcome Hilary McKay to GreenBeanTeenQueen! I am so excited to share her newest books, The Lulu Series, with everyone. Lulu is a seven-year-old who loves animals. The rule in Lulu's house is the more the merrier, as long as Lulu cleans up after them! 

In Lulu and the Duck in the Park, during a class trip the park Lulu discovers an egg that needs help hatching. Her teacher has told everyone no more animals in class, but Lulu can't leave the duckling egg alone! 

In Lulu and the Dog From the Sea, Lulu and her family vacation to a cottage by the sea. They discover a stray dog who everyone in the town is trying to catch and Lulu believes she can be the one to tame him.

This series is charming and adorable and perfect for beginning readers. Each book is about 100 pages and is full of beautiful illustrations on almost every page. The writing is wonderful and never sounds too simple or talks down to the reader and I think new independent readers will feel like they are reading a very smart chapter book when they read this series. Lulu reminds me a bit of Clementine-getting into some silly adventures and she's very passionate. I think she'll easily earn her place among the spunky, plucky girl characters that fill beginning chapter book series. 

What made the Lulu books stand out for me was Lulu and her cousin Mellie. They have a very sweet friendship and even though they are very different, they are the best of friends. I also adored Lulu's passion for animals. Each book is a new adventure with Lulu and a new animal and her love for animals shines through on the pages.

I also really appreciated the fact that this series features multiracial characters without it ever being an issue. This is much needed in children's lit, especially books for beginning readers.

I can't wait to give these to my young library readers who love The Puppy Place series and want books about animals-the Lulu books are sure to a be a hit!

I asked Ms. McKay to share her thoughts on libraries:

I was lucky with libraries growing up. There was one within walking distance, on the way to school. Looking back, having seen more beautiful libraries, it was a utilitarian affair: steel shelves, hard wooden seats, and a most unfriendly librarian. At the time this did not strike me at all; it had  a delicious smell of polish and paper, books by the thousand and it was beautifully quiet. I think nowadays quietness is less fashionable in children’s libraries, but after the noise of four children in a very small house it was lovely to me. My sisters and I visited it very often. We were allowed four books each, so that was sixteen. They usually lasted us about three days. Our most popular authors, such as Joan Aiken, Arthur Ransome, L M Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Noel Streatfield  caused many quarrels, and much clutching of the-book-to-be-read-next to indignant bony chests before it was seized by a predatory sister. We were all very bad sharers. One of my sisters used to read on her stomach, her entire pile shoved underneath her. I often went so far as to stow them under my sweater. Anyone would have thought there was a shortage of books, but there was not; there was a limitless supply. How lucky we were, how little we knew that we were so lucky, but if ever a library was appreciated, that one was, and I remember it now with love, steel shelves, hard seats, unfriendly librarian included. 

Want to win a copy of Lulu? Leave a comment below with your favorite animal!

-Thanks to Albert Whitman & Company for the contest
-Open to ages 13+
-US and Canada address only
-Contest ends April 1st

Monday, March 25, 2013

What to Read While Waiting for the Veronica Mars Movie

Ever since the Veronica Mars movie was announced, I've been obsessively checking the Kickstarter page, watching Logan and Veronica clips on YouTube, and reading every piece of news about who is going to be in the film and what the plot my be I can get my hands on. Yep, I love Veronica Mars and I'm thrilled she'll be making a comeback. Obsessed like me? Or new to Veronica Mars and need to get in a YA mystery mood? Here's what you can read while waiting for the Veronica Mars movie:

-Before he was creating TV show detectives, Rob Thomas was writing YA novels. The book just got a new cover and re-released this month.

-High school murder mystery and total fluffy fun

-Veronica Mars if she was born in 1942

-If Veronica Mars was a bit more chick lit and went to a school for spies

-Veronica Mars meets Harry Potter

And if you just can't get enough of Veronica:

Any other suggestions for Veronica Mars fans?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Caldecott Storytimes: Week 8

I'm doing Caldecott themed storytime for preschool storytime in January-April.Check out all my Caldecott Storytime plans here. 

Theme: Songs and Rhymes

Early Literacy Skill: Sing & Rhyme

Opening Song: Where is Thumbkin? by The Wiggles


-Before I read this book I talked about how there are some songs that tell silly stories that are very old songs and have been passed down to kids over the years. I also told the kids that going courtin meant that Froggy was looking for a wife and he wanted to get married. I asked if they had ever seen a frog marry a mouse and they all giggled and said "NO!!" I told them that we would have to look at each the pictures to see what happens and if they did get married and what happened at the wedding. This helped keep them really engaged in the book and they liked it a lot more than I thought they would. They kept pointing out the various animals in the story and asking "are they going to get married?" They had lots of fun with this one.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner 


-I love this book and the kids loved it too. I told the kids this book had secret cut outs in the pages. The picture would look whole but when you turned the page, you could see where part of it had been cut out so you could see colors from the next page. They got VERY excited about this and I learned my lesson about secret cut outs! They got so excited that they wanted to come up front and and point out all the secret cut outs on each page! Having 20 kids all point out cut outs on each page was hilarious and we made it through the book OK, but next time, maybe I'll mention the cut outs at the end. :)

Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by The Wiggles-because after the secret cut outs we needed to get our wiggles out!


-I told the kids that Green won a Caldecott honor this year and that it was all about one color-could they guess what it was? They shouted out "Green!" They loved the illustrations and the secret cut outs. Again they got very excited and had to point out all the cut outs on the pages and during our activity time I put both Green and Joseph Had A Little Overcoat out for the kids to look at again and several of them sat and paged through the books looking at the pictures-they were big hits!

SongDo the Butterfly by Greg and Steve-this one worked great since it was a fun action song and it was to the tune of Frog Went a Courtin


-Joseph Had A Little Overcoat cut and tell story-I found this template on the ALSC blog via Pinterest and had the kids color the pages and put the story in order so they could retell the story at home.

-Frog Puppet-we have an Ellison diecut for a frog finger puppet that I had the kids color

-Getting Dressed boards-we have a set of getting dressed boards with zippers, buttons, and snaps that I put out to go along with Joseph

-Read a book to a stuffed animal friend-I placed the books we read along with additional Caldecott books on a mat with some stuffed animals and the kids could look at the books with a stuffed animal friend

How it Went: The kids loved it! All the books were big hits and they especially loved discovering the secret cut outs in the pages. I had lots of kids want to read the books again and they had lots of fun with the songs and crafts this week as well. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

YA Movie News

-Say hello to Four! Theo James (aka Mr. Pamuk)  has been cast as Four in the Divergent film. He's a bit older than I thought for Four, but I think he looks the part.

-Not only is Shailene Woodley playing Tris in Divergent, she's just been cast as Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars. She's no stranger to books to movies either-she's also in The Spectacular Now, which is out this year, and she's filming The Amazing Spider Man 2. Maybe Shailene is our new book to movie queen?

-The Selection has added a new character that doesn't appear in the books. In the show, Prince Maxon will have a brother, Prince Rafe, who will be played by Ben Aldridge. 

-Goosebumps is still incredibly popular at my library, so the news that Sony is working on a big screen adaptation of Goosebumps is news my library tweens will love! Rob Letterman who directed Monsters Vs. Aliens and Gulliver's Travels is in talks to direct.

-Once Upon A Time is releasing a tie-in novel that adapts the TV shows first season into novel form.

-Disney Channel is developing a TV Movie based on Annabel Monaghan's novel A Girl Named Digit. Thanks to PW Kids for the news.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Trends in YA: Dystopian Fairy Tales

Trends are a funny thing. Some come all at once and others seem to slowly creep up on you as you read. I feel like in the dystopian genre there more books coming out that take a fairy twist in a dystopian world. Fairy tales are always popular, but the dystopian twist seems to be taking off. Here are a few I've noticed:

-This was the first dystopian fairy tale I noticed. I listened to it on audiobook when it came out in 2011 and really enjoyed it. It's a dystopian/future/scifi take on Sleeping Beauty.

From Goodreads: Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose-- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire-- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes-- or be left without any future at all.

Cinder is  a cyborg Cinderella tale set in the future. I read it and really enjoyed it and liked the cyborg take on Cinderella. It was unique and fun.

From Goodreads: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

And Cinder's sequel/companion novel, Scarlet. This time it's a future tale of Little Red Riding Hood. 

From Goodreads: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

This one comes out in April and is another Sleeping Beauty retelling.

From Goodreads: There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.

Any others  you have noticed? Do you like fairy tale retellings with a dystopian twist?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 2/12/2013

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: After leaving Uncle Chester's homestead, Hattie has a new dream. She would like to become a reporter. When the chance to become a seamstress with a traveling acting troupe arises, Hattie jumps on the opportunity to travel to a big city and ends up in San Francisco. Hattie has found a letter and a love token from Uncle Chester's old flame in San Francisco and maybe this is her chance to find out more about her mysterious uncle. Plus there's so much opportunity in San Francisco and Hattie will work hard to make her dreams come true.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: So as I went to review Hattie Ever After, I looked to see if I had ever reviewed Hattie Big Sky, which I had not. So I need to remedy that soon (but that may require a reread!) But all you need to know is I loved the first book-it appealed to tween Sarah who loved historical fiction and Hattie's adventures as she tries to make it on a homestead in Montana were beautiful, heartbreaking and wonderful and I couldn't have asked for a better book. So Hattie Ever After had a lot to live up to.

Hattie is back and I was reminded of just how much I love and adore her. She's smart, spunky, and works hard to achieve her dreams. She can be a bit naive, but she's young and her naivety is believable and part of what makes her an endearing character. Even though this is a historical novel set in 1919, Hattie's story rings true for readers today. She is trying to follow her dreams and find her place in the world. She's wondering about her future and what exactly her future holds. And she's trying to figure out just exactly where Charlie fits into all of this and if she wants to be with him or not.

What makes Hattie stand out to me is her independence. She's strong and while there are times she may need help, she accepts this help and it doesn't make her a whimpering powerless girl. Instead it makes her stronger and she grows into a strong, courageous young woman. There is a bit a romantic storyline in the book as Hattie is trying to figure out her feelings for Charlie and the gentlemen that may throw a wrench in their plans. But the romance is never a central storyline and I love how Hattie doesn't fall into the arms of a boy swooning, but instead comes to a relationship on her terms and her choice.

Hattie is a bit of a dreamer and she has big ambitions. I think if Hattie ever met Anne Shirley, the two would be kindred spirits, which I think is one of the reasons I love Hattie. She reminds me of my favorite childhood characters and she's destined to be a classic.

At times Hattie's story becomes a bit convenient and she comes into things a bit too easily. She can also be a bit naive about trusting people and believing everything she hears, but I chalked that up to being young and new to the city. Even though Hattie's story is sometimes a bit too perfect, it's still a lot of fun and I had a great time enjoying her story for another round. Hattie Ever After is a book you should give readers who are looking for a story with the charm of a classic with a spunky main character.

Book Pairings: Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery

Full Disclosure: Reviwed from egalley I received from publisher

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tween Tuesday: Barn Boot Blues by Catherine Friend

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 9/1/2011

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: Taylor's life just got turned upside down. She is not made for country living, but her parents have just uprooted her to a small town farm in the middle of nowhere. Now instead of trips to the Mall of America, Taylor is spending her time with sheep, ducks, chickens and goats. As her farm life keeps landing her in one disaster after another and chicken poop, Taylor devises a plan to get her parents to move back to the city where she belongs.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Barn Boot Blues is a cute look at transitions and changing what you've always known. Taylor hates the farm, but it's her moms dream to own animals and a farm, so Taylor isn't going to have an easy time convincing her parents it's time to move. Much to Taylor's surprise, she actually has a talent for living on a farm and learns to spin wool. As she learns about life on the farm readers will learn along with her about what it takes and how strong you can be even when you least expect it.

Barn Boot Blues is a nominee for our state book award list next year and I think the tweens will love it. Taylor's voice is hilarious and charming and her adventures are laugh out loud funny. I also felt this one had a lot of great discussion points to it with Taylor adjusting to a new way of living, making new friends, and learning to be independent and discover her talents. I'm especially interested in how this one will be in book discussions with our tweens because I work in a "big city" (that's not really that big) with many surrounding farms and small towns. I think many of my tweens will relate to Taylor's adventures and while her farm life might not be new to them, it does bring up an interesting look at how those who are not used to small town life look at it on the outside.

I listened to this one on audio and Kate Rudd gives an excellent narration. She really sounds like Taylor and matches her frustration, annoyance and yet her sometimes excitement perfectly. It's a short book but it's lots of fun and I can't wait to share it with my tween readers.

Book Pairings: Horse Camp by Nicole Helget and Nate LeBoutilier

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy I checked out from my local library

Monday, March 18, 2013

Food Allergies and Library Programs

A year ago I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. That meant I had to cut out anything with gluten in it from my diet. No wheat, barley, rye. I eat gluten free cookies, bread and pasta. I've learned how to adjust my diet, but I wasn't expecting my new food allergy to overlap with work, other than what I took for lunch and not being able to eat at staff potlucks.

I discovered that there are a lot of products, not just food products, that contain gluten. Lots of craft supplies that I come in contact with on a daily basis in the library are not always gluten free. For me, I'm extra cautious about when I'm using crayons, play dough, and glue and I make sure to wash my hands a lot, especially after handling any of these items. But it got me thinking about making sure our library programs are allergy friendly.

This winter we hosted a Cookie Club in which patrons got a card stamped on each visit to the library and after six visits got invited to a cookie party. I had a parent tell me, oh, we can't come to the party because my kids can't have gluten. I told her I couldn't have gluten either and that I would have gluten free cookies at the party. They ended up not coming to the party and I saved the gluten free cookies I had brought for myself, so it wasn't a waste. But it did get me thinking if patrons are avoiding library programs because of food allergies.

The top eight food allergies are: Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, and Wheat.

Whenever we host an event with food, we advertise that there will be food involved. And if the library started to order special made food for every program on the off chance that a child with an allergy would come, that would start getting expensive. And I just don't think it would be possible to cut out every possible allergen someone might possibly be allergic to.

Yet I do think we have a responsibility to make sure those patrons feel welcome at programs. If at times we can provide a special food that would be great and very welcoming. Or if we host a cooking program (we've done Teen Iron Chef and Tween Picnic Lunch programs) we could make sure we have supplies and ingredients that could be allergy friendly, like fruits and vegetables. And we can encourage patrons to bring their own food item so their child doesn't feel left out, which many with food allergies are already used to doing. I also think we can try to make sure we offer brands like Elmer's and Crayola that state that their craft items are gluten free. I don't want anyone to feel as though they can't come to the library because they are afraid of possible food programming.

So I'm curious. Have any of you encountered issues with food allergies at library programs? Do you offer alternatives? How do you handle food at programs?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Caldecott Storytime: Week 7

I'm doing Caldecott themed storytime for preschool storytime in January-April.Check out all my Caldecott Storytime plans here. 

Theme: Animal Friends

Opening Song: Shake Your Sillies Out and Where is Thumbkin by the Wiggles (both were requested this week!)

Literacy Skill: Tell Stories-our crafts especially focused on telling stories


-Before I started this one, I talked about what safety rules are, what some rules we follow are (one of the older siblings had read the book and shared the tip from the book "don't stand on swivel chairs!") I also talked about how we had to look at both the pictures and listen to the words of this book to tell the whole story. It was cute, but my group was a bit too young for this one.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner


This is one of my favorites and I love sharing it with the kids. The kids and parents liked it too and we had fun talking about how kind the animals are and what good friends they are.

Rhyme: I Went to the Zoo (To the tune of London Bridge)

I adapted a rhyme I found (and now I can't remember where I found it! I think Storytime Katie?) and turned it into this song:

I went to the zoo today, zoo today, zoo today
I went to the zoo today and I saw a: (have children fill in the blank with the name of an animal)

--This was lots of fun and the kids had a blast yelling out animal names.


-I love this story about a family who finds a dog in the park and it was a fun book to read aloud.

Song: Dancing with Wags the Dog by The Wiggles 

-Great song to do because of the actions

-Zoo animal craft-I made a "zoo cage" by drawing lines on paper and copying the pages. I then had the kids glue die cut animals into their zoo cage and draw an animal scene. 

-Safety Rules coloring sheet-I found a safety rule star on Pinterest that I copied off and had the kids fill out with a safety rule.

-Dog house-We have two pop up tents that I put out as dog houses with some books the kids could read inside.

How it Went: This was a fun storytime and the kids loved the animal songs and books. The parents had lots of fun helping the kids fill out the safety tip sheets which ended up being a hit. I would do it again but mix up the stories and add some more books for the younger preschoolers. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

YA Movie News

-The biggest news this week is the Veronica Mars movie is happening!! Oh my goodness I cannot contain my excitement about this project. I have been waiting for this movie and am so thrilled that it will finally be made. Yes of course I've backed the project, have you? And I'm not ashamed to admit I've watched the video on the Kickstarter page several times already (and will watch in many more!) I'm thinking another rewatch of all three seasons is in order. Who is with me? Maybe we need to do a rewatch and blog???


The big screen adaptation of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone is getting closer. Stuart Beattie is writing the script.

Who else is excited about Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing? I can't wait! There's no trailer for Tiger Eyes, but it is featured in Judy Blume's interview from Rock Center.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Escape Theory by Margaux Froley

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Release Date: 3/12/2013

About the Book: (From Goodreads) Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide. 
 Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her.  As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn't have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentialityand tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch's death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Escape Theory is a boarding school mystery with an interesting setting and premise. Devon is grieving over the death of Hutch, who she has had a long unrequited crush on throughout high  school after their night together freshman year. This makes her become very obsessive in figuring out what happened to Hutch and at times her obsession is a bit grating. Devon can be a bit annoying as she tries to solve the mystery and pushes constantly to figure out what is going on. She's also a bit bland at times and there were many times I wanted to yell at her for not being so stupid.

The mystery of what happened to Hutch kept me interested, even if some of the plot twists were a bit predictable. The thing that I struggled with the most was the fact that Devon was a peer counselor who had bee assigned people who were directly involved with Hutch and grieving his death. I would think that after a suicide a school would have professional help for students, especially a rich boarding school like Keaton, instead of relying on and allowing a student to counsel other students. That aspect of the plot required the biggest suspension of disbelief from me. 

There is a large cast of characters and at times I found it hard to remember who all the side characters were, but the main characters are fairly engaging. The mystery was enough to keep me reading and mystery has a nice twist ending that I'm sure will surprise many readers and teens will love it.

Despite having to suspend disbelief and at times disliking Devon, it was an interesting and engaging read. Readers who enjoy boarding school stories with a touch of mystery are sure to love this one. 

Book Pairings: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (for the suicide 
and mystery elements), The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (for the peer  counseling) 

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from egalley received from publisher

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Author Guest Post: Margaux Froley

Please welcome author Margaux Froley to GreenBeanTeenQueen. Her debut novel, Escape Theory, was just released on March 12! I love asking about libraries and Margaux answered the question, "When has a library really made a difference for you as a writer."

I’m a big fan of libraries, so this is a tough question. Last year my boyfriend and I decided to move to Los Angeles from New York. We got to Los Angeles and stayed the first few days with my dad and his wife in their house near Santa Monica. I’m from here, so it was nice to be back near my family, and my family was happy to have me. But I also vividly remember the first morning, Joel and I woke up, had breakfast, and our intention was to sit down and write that day. My dad’s house is big-ish, so there seemed to be plenty of space to write. He even had the housekeeper clean off a big table just for us. We got our laptops out, our coffees ready just how we like, and sat down to write. It was going to be a great writing day.

But, within the first five minutes we could hear my dad and his wife bicker about getting their printer to work, they have small birds that suddenly made a huge amount of constant noise, and the phone kept ringing. Without even saying a word, we just exchanged a look, and very quickly we packed up our computers and just grabbed our stuff and left the house. I started driving and didn’t quite know where we could go to find any peace. I vaguely remembered that Santa Monica had a new library, and we ended up there. The Santa Monica library is a beautiful, modern building with lots and lots of space and bright windows. We were in heaven. I quickly got a library card, and we ended up spending most of the next week writing our own pilot scripts at that library. I still love that library because it provided such a safe haven when we’re wandering travelers just trying to find a quiet place to write.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Author Guest Post: Annette LeBlanc Cate

Please welcome Annette LeBlanc Cate, author of Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Check out my review of Look Up!

 So much about life now is very different for The Young People Of Today (how i put it when i want to particularly annoy my 12 year old son) than for us pathetic old people. For example...The Young People have many, many tv stations, they may roam freely when they talk on the phone, their Lego people have faces, and on cold days they don't have smelly damp wool scarves wrapped around their faces, because they have Polar-tec. And they are never bored, because they have many devices with various entertainments on them.  And every little bit of information they could ever want or need is right at their fingertips, and they are so used to this that it never occurs to them that this is an incredibly overwhelming concept, their heads never spin with this knowledge, like mine still does, because I am, you know, a pathetic old person.

     Of course, much of life is the same, too. For the past 6 years I have volunteered in my sons' very large and cheerful elementary school library, and every week the kids march in and drop their books with a satisfying thump onto the desk to be checked in, and then later they skip up to the desk, eyes shining, with new selections clutched hopefully to their chests.  

      When I went to school in the '70's, we would also march down to the school library, (of course ours was really more like a giant closet) and we would have ten minutes or so to pick a book, and although there must have been a librarian who rubber-stamped the cards, i do not remember her. Then I would have a new deliciously musty smelling cloth-bound Black Stallion series book, with thickish yellowy pages and lovely mysterious black ink illustrations, and it was mine for the week, and that was that, and I was happy. I would write my book reports, and i did well at that because i was very smart and always read well past my grade level, and everything was perfect until 10th grade or so when i suddenly was supposed to be able to write a 10 page research paper on a theme of Henry James, and then life was not so perfect, because i had no idea how to research a theme of Henry James. And it was really shocking to me, because i thought i knew how to do stuff, and really... when i got right down to it, i had no idea at all how to even begin.

      I am betting this is not going to happen with the Young People of Today...and I am not even making fun of them here, I am sincerely very, very happy for them...because their libraries are so different, and kids' librarians are so different, and that is all so wonderful. While i shelve the books the kids have just dumped onto the desk,  I have had the pleasure of eavesdropping on Mrs. DeCesare's delightful library lectures...the little kids start off with a song, and then they get a talk... maybe about what's a fairy tale, what's a fable, what are the parts of a book... and then she tells them a story. The older kids - and this is what really fascinates me... are learning about how to do research, they learn all the good places to go to find information... and how to weed through it, and what to do with it, how to assimilate it and make it part of their own understanding. When I hear Mrs. DeCesare patiently explain what a source is and how to document it... I honestly think WOW! To think someone thought to explain this to kids, in small yearly easily understood chunks, a little at a time, all in one place... how to navigate not just the library... but the whole world of information out there.... so kids will not be lost and overwhelmed when it is time to identify a theme of Henry James.... I think, good grief, what a great idea this whole library program thing is.

     At times I cannot help to be a little worried at just how much completely accessible stuff is out there... I'm a mom and I can't help it. I didn't grow up with the internet and I am suspicious of it sometimes. I know I am nostalgic for my musty old book being rubber-stamped and being sent on my way, and i can't really help that, either. But I love all this new library business. I am encouraged by the work of Mrs.DeCesare and all the other youth librarians out there who help and give talks and point out the good books, who guide kids toward making good choices, who help them figure stuff out. How different life is going to be for these kids, how ready they will be to write their papers and their essays, to think about college. I'm really thrilled it is a whole new world for them.

      (But of course I'm happy kids still bring me, eyes shining-ly, their occasionally musty old books. I'm happy those still get to live at the library, too! I just wish I could rubber stamp them)

Tween Tuesday Blog Tour: Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

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

Check out Annette LeBlanc Cate's Guest Post!!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: 3/12/2013

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: Anybody can bird watch! All you need is to go outside and look up! This fun quirky book will teach the basics of bird watching, what to look for, and how to get started with a new hobby.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Look Up! is a great nonfiction addition to any collection. While the book is short (just over 50 pages), the pages are full of information that will get readers excited about bird-watching. I will admit, I've always thought of bird-watchers as a bit odd-they're those people who have notebooks and binoculars, spend a lot of time outside being very quiet and really love birds. But Annette LeBlanc Cate has managed to make me rethink my ideas of bird-watching and make me, someone who would much rather stay inside with a book than go outside, actually want to venture outdoors and look for birds!

The style of book is part picture book, part comic book, part nonfiction text. There are illustrations on each page and the banter between the birds is hilarious. The illustrations and text also address the reader directly and answer questions they might have about bird-watching as well as giving steps readers can take to learn more about birds in their own backyard. There are lots of details about bird-watching and various types of birds, but not so scientific that the text will turn off readers.The facts about bird-watching are easy to follow, engaging and perfect for budding ornithologists. Really, I can't express how much fun this book is. It's not often that I get this excited about a nonfiction title (nonfiction isn't always my favorite area to read in) but Look Up! was so fun to read I forgot I was reading nonfiction. I think this would be the perfect book to hand a reader who needs to read a nonfiction book but aren't sure what they want to read about or turned off from the idea of trying nonfiction.

You might have to start your own bird-watching club at your library after readers get this one!

Book Pairings: Pair this with Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt and Moonbird by Phillip M. Hoose for a great fiction/nonfiction selection about birds and bird-watching

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher for review

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five Years Ago....

On March 13, 2008, I started my blog with this post:

Well, I've finally done it. I've been wanting to start a book blog for a long time and here I am-finally! Check back often for reviews and booklists of tween and teen books. Post lots of comments-I love to read them!:) And don't forget to keep reading!

My first review was of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (and it makes me laugh a bit at how short it is!!)

Rating: 4/5 Stars

About the Book: Percy Jackson has been labeled as a bad kid. He's been kicked out of numerous schools, has ADD, and can't seem to stay out of trouble. All this changes when he discovers he's not a bad kid at all-he's just got different wiring because he's actually half Greek god and half human! Yep, those ancient Greek gods are alive and well and living in New York. So what's newly discovered demigod to do? Spend summer at Camp Halfblood of course! But things are not perfect on Mt. Olympus-Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect. Can Percy stop the brewing war, clear his name and still make it to seventh grade? 

Green Bean Teen Queen Says: This was one of my top picks for 2007. It's action packed, full of humor, and the modern twist is a great introduction to Greek mythology. This is also a great pick for all you readers who say "but I don't really like reading!" Give the first chapter a try-you'll be hooked! With three books in the series right now and the fourth coming in May(I can't wait!) this is one series you won't want to miss. 

My first comment came from my husband on a post I wrote in April. It was anonymous and I woke up to two anonymous comments asking me for book suggestions! I was so excited that someone commented on my blog and I got right to work making booklists. I then found out when Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan came back from work that the comments were from him, not a random blog reader I had thought, but the sentiment was sweet. 

Then came my first real comments from real people (not that Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan isn't real, but he doesn't count-he has to read my blog!:)

Alyson Noel commented on my review of her novel Cruel Summer, which as a new blogger having an author comment on your blog is amazing! Then I got a few more comments in September and then a few more and I started to make blogger friends. Some of the first people I remember commenting on my blog was Lenore and Jenny, two bloggers (and now both authors) that I consider blogging friends. I feel lucky to have met of them in real life! 

Then I started blogging more. Even though I started in 2008, I didn't really start blogging until the next year. Which really, when I look back on it, I don't know why-that was the year I started grad school and got married, it's not like I didn't have anything else to do!

And here I am five years later, with many more posts, much longer reviews, booklists, library programs, my random thoughts on books, reading and libraries, and readers and bloggers who have become amazing friends. 

Honestly, I can't believe I've been blogging for five years. I can't believe that people even read my blog-that still shocks me! And I'm still amazed that I go to conferences and people know me. I'll never forget the time I was waiting to cross the street at ALA Midwinter San Diego and started chatting with the lady next to me. I gave her my business card and she screamed (yes, actually screamed!) "OH MY GOSH-YOU'RE GREENBEANTEENQUEEN! I READ YOUR BLOG!" Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan was with me and wasn't sure what to make of that! It was quite a celebrity moment and he had a fun giving me a hard time that I was "famous." 

Having some fun and looking at stats, my most popular post is always my Books Review Page but I found out that my Booklists and Library Programs are popular as well, which as a librarian makes me very happy to know that someone is reading those (librarians? students? future librarians? I don't know,  but I hope they help!) I hope to write more posts about programs and create more booklists. 

So all that to say, thank you for being here. Thank you for sticking with me for the past five years. Thank you for understanding when I've had to take blogging breaks or not been able to post reviews due to committees. Thank you for commenting and not being upset if I don't always get to comment back. Thank you for being amazing readers, librarians, and authors who make me feel like I'm with my people-the people who understand what it is to love books, want to be surrounded by books and want to read books and talk about books.  Thank you for being awesome. Here's to many more years together!!

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