Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tween Tuesday: Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind by Gary Ross

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy/Novel in Verse

Release Date: 12/13/2012

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About the Book: Bartholomew is pretty ordinary and a bit bored. So when a very big wind appears outside his window, Bartholomew takes his bedsheet and soars into the sky. Flying across the world, Bartholomew meets new friends and has many wild adventures.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Told in rhyming verse, Bartholomew Biddle would make a great pick for poetry month lessons. The story is broken up into seven chapters and while they all work together, each chapter also holds a small vignette of adventure that is happening to Bartholomew. The rhyming verse would make this a great read aloud for families reading together.

I really appreciated that I never felt like the rhyming lines were forced. The flow was always very well done and the rhymes worked. It also gave the book a nice cadence. Bartholomew has several fun adventures along the way and I think readers who love stories full of imagination will love Bartholomew. I love that the book features a note to grown-ups about explaining to kids that no one can fly with a bedsheet.

The book is a bit long and sometimes the format breaks up a sentence in the middle which could be a bit distracting, but overall I really enjoyed it. The illustrations add to the story and I loved seeing pictures of Bartholomew's new  friends and locations he discovers along the way. Bartholomew is a great character and his adventures are reminiscent of classic children's stories that I think adults will feel nostalgic while reading and kids will enjoy the high stakes of flying with a bedsheet across the world. A fun read that's perfect for all ages.

Book Pairings: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from a final copy sent by the publisher

Monday, April 29, 2013

Caldecott Storytime: Week 12

I didn't get a chance to get this posted yesterday, so now Monday is storytime day! :)

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

Theme: Wordless Picture Books

Skill: Tell Stories

Open: Where is Thumbkin by The Wiggles

I decided to use all wordless picture books in this storytime. I opened the storytime by talking about the Caldecott Award and how it is given for illustrations, like I do every week. Then I asked the kids what we would do if a book had no words-how could we tell the story? They said we could read the title and after a bit more asking them to look inside the book I was holding, I pointed out that the pictures help us tell the story. I told them to look at the pictures and see if they  could help tell the stories of our books this week. I wasn't sure how this would work out, but I thought I would try it and see how it went!


-I opened this book because I thought it would be the easiest story for the kids to tell and I was right. They loved it and it was fun to watch the adults reaction to the pictures as well-they are gorgeous you just can't help but look at them in awe! The kids loved the book and the adults were engaged as well.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner


-This one took a bit more work to explain what was happening in the story, but the kids loved it! They loved that Daisy made a friend and got a new ball-that made the kids all very happy!

Rhyme:  Rags from The Big Book of Stories, Songs and Singalongs by Beth Maddigan

-I have a dog and his name is Rags,
He eats so much that his belly sags, (put arms in front of body to show a big tummy)
His ears flip-flop and his tail wig wags (use hands for ears and tail)
And when he walks, he goes zig-zag. (sway from side to side)
He goes flip-flop (flap hands as ears)
Wig wag (shake hips)
Zig-zag (sway from side to side)
He goes flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag,
He goes flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag.
I love Rags and he loves me! (give child a hug)


-This is one of my favorites, but I wasn't sure if my preschoolers would really "get it" or like it. We talked about the pictures a lot and I asked if frogs could fly, had they ever seen flying frogs, and what would happen if they really could fly. They ended up surprising me with how much they liked talking about this book and laughing at the pictures.

Song: Animal Action 1 & 2 by Greg and Steve-because just one song wasn't enough and two Animal Actions is always fun!


-Ball Chute-We have a ball chute made of a tube and a cardboard box that the kids love. I put it out in honor of Daisy and had the kids roll balls down the tube for Daisy and it was a huge hit. They never want to leave this activity when it's out.

-Frog Mural-I love murals in storytime and I used our diecut frogs and crayons for the kids to create a flying frog scene mural on butcher paper.

-Mini Books-Since we've been talking about Caldecott books for all of our Spring Storytime Sessions and this week was all about wordless books, I thought it was the perfect time for the kids to make their own books. I put out paper and crayons and showed the kids how they could fold the paper to make a book. I had one boy who was so excited about this and he wrote a book about playing basketball. He even stayed as I was cleaning up so he could finish his book. His mom told me he had been wanting to make a book so this was perfect! I complimented his illustrations and asked if he thought he would win a Caldecott Medal and he said "maybe someday!" 

How It Went: For all my nerves about doing a wordless book storytime, it went great! The kids loved having an active part of storytime by helping tell the stories and even without words on the page, I was able to narrate the story just fine. The kids loved it and I can't wait to do another wordless picture book storytime!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hidden by Helen Frost

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Novel in Verse

Release Date: 5/10/2011

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About the Book: When Wren and Darra are eight years old, Darra's father steals a car, not knowing Wren is in the back. While police are on the lookout for a kidnapper, Darra knows that Wren has to be hiding out in her garage. Wren manages to escape and their lives are forever changed. Now, years later, they are both arriving at the same summer camp. Neither has seen each other since those fateful days and neither is sure how to approach the other and talk about what happened to them and the events that followed.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Helen Frost is a master of writing beautiful poetry. Wren and Darra's stories are told in alternating points of view with alternating poetry formats. I didn't realize until I read the author's note at the end of the book that all of Wren's poems are written so that readers can also read the last word in the longest sentences to read a new sentence which I thought was a cool little detail.

The story is engaging as both girls are dealing with the consequences of what happened to them years before and learning how their actions affected the other girl involved. Their stories intertwine in an interesting way and it's really nice how it all unfolds. I did think that their time at camp was a bit forced and I wanted them to talk to each a bit more, but I did appreciate what was there and it felt true to the characters and their ages.

Hidden would make a great book to read for a poetry unit as the book is a great example of using forms of poetry to tell a story and creating in depth characters and details. This one is on our state book award list for next year and I'm curious to see how our fourth-sixth graders respond to it. I think our readers who enjoy contemporary novels will love it.

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tween Tuesday: Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Novel in Verse

Release Date: 3/5/2013

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About the Book: Sam is excited for his special fishing day with dad-that is until his annoying little sister Lucy comes along.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I love novels in verse and Gone Fishing is a perfect introduction to the format for young tweens. I think that while this could easily fit into the tween category, it might be the younger side of the tweens who are perfect for this one. Sam seems about eight or nine in the book.

The poems have different narrators from Sam, Lucy and Dad but it's mostly Sam that we hear from throughout. He's having a rough day having his sister tag along and he's not catching any fish. The author does a great job expressing Sam's emotions throughout with his annoyance and frustration about his trip and then also his excitement and change of heart when things start to go well.

What I really loved was how the author used various forms of poetry for each poem which are listed at the beginning of each poem. At the end of the book there is an extensive glossary with information on how to write the various forms, poetic techniques like alliteration and imagery, and a nice bibliography for readers wanting more information about poetry. Each page is also illustrated with adorable black and white illustrations. I especially love the illustrations of a proud Sam with fish.

Gone Fishing is fun to read and also a great teaching tool about poetry.

Book Pairings: Technically It's Not My Fault by John Grandits, Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy checked out from my local library

Monday, April 22, 2013

So You Want to Read YA? Guest Post at Stacked

Today I'm visiting the blog of my good friends Kelly and Kim at Stacked to talk about my favorite YA romances. Come visit and let me know what books you would suggest for someone wanting to read a YA title with a little (or a lot) of romance in the story!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Caldecott Storytime: Week 11

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

Theme: Precocious Preschoolers 

I decided this week I was going to do all songs, rhymes and books and no crafts and activities. 

Open: Where Is Thumbkin and Shake My Sillies Out by The Wiggles 

Skill: Tell Stories & Sing and Rhyme

I introduced our books as "precocious preschoolers" and I also mentioned how this week, the books had lots of humor for adults as well as the kids, which I think helped get the parents interested in the stories and laughing along with the kids.

-Since my kids were pretty young, I talked to them a lot about Owen and his blanket and what was happening in the story. I had one older brother who had read this book before and loved talking about it and telling the kids about Owen's blanket-very fun!

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner


-This was another one that I talked a lot about with the kids about what Olivia was doing, what her observations were, etc. 

Song: Wiggle Your La-De-Dah by Ralph's World (a great wiggle around between books song. I even had a parent check out the CD after storytime-yay!)

Song: Put Your Hands in the Air by Hap Palmer (another great get your wiggles out break song-I really love that it ends with sitting back down and "taking a nap"-perfect for getting back to our carpet squares and ready for the next book)


-I took my cue from one my staff members who said when she read this one, she moved from side to side to show which kid was talking. It was fun and made the book more interactive.

I asked all the kids to put up their carpet squares to make room on the floor for dancing and moving since we were doing to do lots of songs with movements.

Song: The Freeze by Greg and Steve

Parachute: Country Classics by Hap Palmer-This is another freeze style song and it worked great with just having done the freeze dance. I had the kids shake the parachute to the music and stop shaking it when the music stopped.

Song: Listen and Move by Greg and Steve-This is one of my favorites, but it's a bit long, so you have to plan for it in storytime. The music plays the first time around with the action each musical cue is supposed to be (walking, hopping, jumping, skating, gallop, and running) and then the next time around the kids have to listen to the musical cues and remember what each one stands for. It's so much fun to do and it's so fun to see their faces light up as they remember each musical cue.

How it Went: I love doing musical storytimes and I love incorporating as much song and dance as possible. It was also a great way to plug our upcoming Bibliobop dance party which was happening the next week. I had one kid upset that there weren't any toys to play with at storytime. But at the same time I had a parent tell me how happy they were to not have crafts and activities and focus instead of songs and dancing. A lesson in that you can't please everyone, and that's okay-someone will enjoy it!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Picture Books

Rating: 5/5 Stars

About the Book: Set in the style of a silent movie, a fox invites a goose to dinner.

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GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was lucky enough to get a galley of this one at ALA Midwinter. When I sat down in my hotel room and needed a break from all my Printz meetings, I opened this picture book and it was just what I needed!

The illustrations are done in the style of a silent movie, so right there I'm in love. The illustrations are hilarious with subtle hints as to what is going to happen. I also love that it gives a great talking point about silent films and what movies used to be like. Add in the little chicks repetitive refrain of "that is not a good idea" and you've got yourself a wonderfully riotous storytime read aloud. The story has a very funny plot and kids will love shouting along with warning to the goose-because we all know how these stories go-or do we? I said in January that this was my favorite picture book of the year and I'm sticking to that-it's funny, it's great to read aloud, the pictures are fantastic and full of details, and the entire book will leave readers laughing. Once you finish it you want to turn back and start all over again. It's one of the few picture books that I actually laughed  out loud over when I read it. A must read and a must have for storytime collections!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

About the Book: A little panda causes chaos when he sneezes. Will he sneeze?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:  Ok, seriously, how can anyone resist that adorable panda  on the cover? Chu is just too cute you  have to fall in love with him. The story is simple-Chu is a small guy, but  his sneezes are big. He goes throughout his day and everyone is wary of what might happen if Chu sneezes. I read this one in storytime and the kids had a blast pretending to sneeze along with Chu. 

While the story is simple and funny, the illustrations are what make the book stand out to me. Adam Rex does a fantastic job with beautiful full page spreads that you just want to pour over. Each scene he creates adds to the story. You can make up a story about every little character you see on those pages and it's so fun to look at. A cute story with fantastic illustrations.  The simple text and bright colors make it a fun choice for storytimes.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley copies received at ALA Midwinter

Friday, April 19, 2013

YA Movie News

-Not only did we get the title of the highly anticipated third book in the Divergent trilogy this week (the book will be called Allegiant) casting news was released about who will be playing Tris's parents: Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn. This cast is coming together very nicely, don't you think? You can keep up with all the casting news on the Facebook page. The movie has just started filming in Chicago.

-Delirium finished filming and you can see a great Instagram photo roundup from the cast thanks to The Examiner.

The biggest news this week was the release of the first trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It looks like they script has added more back story, but I'm okay with it-it looks like it's adding to the story and not changing anything. I think it looks great!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Adult Lit: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 10/25/2011

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About the Book: For graduation, Frankie receives a scrapbook and typewriter. Frankie begins chronicling her life in her scrapbook-from school, to a mysterious Captain James who sweeps Frankie off her feet, to finding old friends and making new ones. Frankie's story of a girl coming of age in the roaring 20s is told all through scrapbook pages and vintage photographs, postcards, advertisements, and more.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I first heard about this book when in won a 2012 Alex Award. When I found out it was told all in pictures and memorabilia, I knew I had to read it.

Frankie's story is so whimsical and fun, yet it's also heartfelt story of a girl who is trying to grow up, become independent, and figure out who she is during that crazy time of early adulthood. I love the way the author chose to tell Frankie's story through a scrapbook. There's a sticker on the cover that shouts "Full-color vintage memorabilia on every page!" which I love. Not only is it fun to look at and pour through just as you would a scrapbook filled with memories, but it matches Frankie perfectly. The author does an excellent job of weaving together various memorabilia she came across and placing it all together so that it made a cohesive story for Frankie. It's a fun graphic novel idea for grown ups and I would love to see more books designed and written in this format. (If anyone knows of any others like this, please let me know!)

Frankie starts out the story as an older teen, so it's easy to see why this book won an Alex Award. It certainly has teen appeal and is a great coming of age story and I would give it older teens looking for something unique and engaging to read.

While the story is cute and a bit light and nothing amazingly groundbreaking, I still loved and adored it. Frankie was a character I was sad to leave-she's spunky and hilarious and I savored every moment with her.

A charming read with a unique storytelling format that is sure to please older teens and adults.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy I checked out from my library

Monday, April 15, 2013

Author Interview with Bethany Wiggins

Please welcome author Bethany Wiggins to GreenBeanTeenQueen to answer a few questions about her new book, Stung. 

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Add Stung on Goodreads

About the Book: Fiona awakes from a with  a strange mark on her hand. All she knows she must cover the mark as she's thrust into a strange future she has no memory of and a world that has separated people without the mark living inside the wall and killing those outside. As Fiona is trying to figure out what has happened, she meets a boy from her past and soon they are on the run together in this futuristic Sleeping Beauty tale. Full of action and adventure and a dash of romance.

Where did you get the idea for Stung?

Believe it or not, STUNG was primarily inspired by a horrible nightmare I had, about waking up in my childhood home and finding everything abandoned, and then being chased out a window by an insane beast who used to be someone I loved. That nightmare is chapter one! Other parts of STUNG were inspired by the frenzy in the United States to get the flu vaccine when the swine flu was going around, and also the bees dying off (colony collapse) inspired part if it.

What was the hardest part of creating a dystopian setting and world for the book?

It was sad and depressing! To imagine the world as we know it turning into a dead, abandoned wasteland was really heart-wrenching. It made me appreciate what we have.

Was there always a love story element to the plot, or did that come later as you were writing?

That was always there! I am a romantic at heart. I met my husband and knew within a couple of days that I was in love with him. After knowing him about nine weeks, we got secretly engaged. When I told my family, they did not want me to marry him, so I got on a Greyhound bus and chased him from Utah to North Carolina and married him anyway. We've been together sixteen years. (And now my family loves him.)

What do you think makes dystopian such an engaging genre?

Here's what I think, but I am no expert. People are intrigued by the possibility that we, as a society, may one day end up as a "dystopian" society. I mean, the "end of the world" has been talked about for centuries! And from a number of different sources, like the Bible, Nostradamus, the Mayans (obviously they weren't correct since I am alive to post this!), Edgar Cayce . . . the list goes on and on.

There is a lot of turmoil in our world right now, with natural disasters, political unrest, religious unrest . . . . So, with everything happening around us, I think people almost sense a change in things, worry that it may be a BAD change, and gravitate to books that are sort of the "What if's" of the future.

What fictional character would you like to have dinner with?

Hmmm, that's a hard one. Let's go with Tris from DIVERGENT. No, no, how about Ann Burden in Z FOR ZACHARIAH. Then again, I'd love to meet Gandalf. Yes, let it be Gandalf. And maybe he'll bring Aragorn with him. (Maybe Legolas too?)

I would love to attend that dinner! Thanks for stopping by Bethany! Good luck with the release of Stung!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Caldecott Storytimes: Week 10

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

Theme: Emotions

Opening Song: Where Is Thumbkin? by The Wiggles

Literacy Skill: Talk & Read


-My preschoolers really liked this one and we talked about being mad and being happy and the pictures that showed Sophie as happy and angry.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner


-Well, sometimes storytime doesn't go as planned. I went to get my storytime books from my storytime basket and realized that my copy of No, David had gotten checked out by a patron and the only copy available at the library that day was the Spanish version! So I made due and we had a nice lesson about how books are translated into other languages but we could still look at the pictures of the book to help us tell the story. I translated the book into English so I could tell the kids what each page said and it worked out well.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It (traditional)


-Of course we have to include Where the Wild Things Are in this storytime! This is one is such a classic it's always fun to read because the parents remember it and it's a book both the parents and kids get excited about reading. When I picked it up to read many of the kids said "I have that book at home!"

Song: Feelings by Hap Palmer-I love this song because it has great vocabulary and the kids had to think about how they would express various feelings such as happy, angry, sleepy, and silly. 


-Wild Thing Craft: My craft was inspired by Mizz Lizz's post about Where the Wild Things Are that I came across while looking for inspiration online.

This was by far the most successful craft I've done with my preschool group. I put out plates, yarn, paper, crayons, scissors, and glue and let the kid create and have fun. Several of them made more than one Wild Thing face and each one had a unique take on it which was so awesome to see. It was an easy craft and the kids loved it.

-Feelings Puzzle-we have some puzzles that fit great with our feelings theme so I put those out.

-Name that emotion-I printed off various pictures of faces making various emotions like happy, sad, scared, tired, etc. and hung them around the room for the kids to name. 

How it went: This was one of my most successful Caldecott storytimes. I think the mix of classic stories they knew with a look at some books they didn't worked well and the parents seemed to be very involved in the books this week. The kids had fun with the songs expressing their emotions and also had a blast with the craft. It was a big hit!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Congrats Natalie!!!


My wonderful book friend, Natalie Lloyd, has sold her debut novel! Here's the news from Publisher's Weekly:

Mallory Kass at Scholastic has acquired world English rights to a debut novel by Natalie Lloyd, called A Snicker of Magic. In the book, a 12-year-old girl moves to a Southern mountain town, sets out to break a century-old curse and bring back a forgotten magic, and finds a home for her wandering heart. It will be published in spring 2014. Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media held the two-book auction. 

If you don't know Natalie, you need to meet her right now! Check out Natalie's blog and learn all about how awesome she is! She loves to read middle grade and YA, loves Harry Potter, has awesome taste in music (she was the one who told me about The Civil Wars) and she has an adorable dog who helps her write! 

So go befriend Natalie and tell her congrats on her book! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Release Date: 2/5/2013

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About the Book: Mallory doesn't remember the details of the evening but she knows that Brian is dead and she's responsible. But Mallory knows it was self-defense. She can still feel Brian's presence around her-or can she? Is it all in her head? In order to start over and get away, her parents send her off to the boarding school her father attended. But Mallory's secrets follow her-and she can't escape the past.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The premise for Hysteria is what made me interested in the novel. Mallory dealing with a difficult situation in the past and learning how to overcome it and move on is what makes the book work. Unfortunately, the rest of story fell a bit flat for me.

The writing is well done and the times the suspense is built up kept me engaged as a reader. But I found the flashes that Mallory gets as her memory is trying to come back too distracting. I loved and appreciated the way the author worked them in so that they didn't come in order and didn't always make sense. It was a great literary device and made the reader feel as though they were experiencing what Mallory was experiencing. Yet it just didn't work for me and I'm not sure why. I think instead it made me more distanced from Mallory than connected and caring about her story. Mallory wasn't sure who she was so at times I wasn't sure who Mallory was and it made me disconnected as a reader.

I was also a bit distracted by how many boys I was supposed to keep track of. Brian, was Mallory's sort of boyfriend, Dylan, his brother and Mallory's original crush, and Reid, the boy Mallory knew from her past and is her new crush at school, and Jason, the school bad boy that maybe is hitting on Mallory. It was just too distracting having so many love interests.

The plot was pretty slow moving as well. If you read the actual synopsis on Goodreads, it spoils something that happens very late in the plot. I knew that going in and it took much to long to actually get there, which made the plot drag. The pacing of the book didn't work to always build suspense. There would be a nice run of mysterious happenings and then it would sizzle out and drag for awhile.

Mallory has a best friend character that was pretty cool and I liked her a lot, but I felt their relationship wasn't as developed as well as it could have been. Her friendship with Colleen and her possible romance with Reid were what kept me reading and finish the book, but they weren't the most engaging either.

There was just too much happening in the plot and the ultimate mystery happening at the school ended up feeling underdeveloped and rushed when it was all figured out. I even felt that the truth about the night with Brian was a let down after all the build up and expected a bit more. The two storylines just never seemed to work well together and at times it felt like I was reading two different books and I wondered how everything fit together.

I think there are readers who will enjoy this book and like the mystery aspects of the plot. It was a great premise and there were some great moments with the characters. Ultimately, it just wasn't the right book for me.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from egalley from Netgalley thanks to the publisher

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 3/26/3013

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About the Book: Living deep in the wood where they can't be found, Carey and her sister Janessa depend on each other. Their mother comes and goes and all they know of the world is what their mother tells them. When two strangers arrive and Carey is reunited with her estranged father, Carey begins to question everything she has ever known. But as she is reintroduced into a world she has long ago left, Carey is afraid to reveal her secrets, including why her sister Janessa has not uttered a word in over a year. Is Carey's father telling the truth about her long forgotten past? And can Carey learn to open up and learn to trust again?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I am so glad to finally see If You Find Me on the shelf! I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this book last year and I've wanted to talk to everyone about it ever since.

If You Find Me is a contemporary story that felt like it stood out among the crowded field of YA. The premise of Carey being taken from her family years ago and now learning the truth about her past was emotional and heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful. As Carey slowly uncovers the truth and learns to trust those around her and it's an emotional journey that the readers goes on with Carey throughout the novel.

Once Carey hinted that she had a secret, I wanted to know more and that aspect of the storyline kept me reading and engaged. I wanted to know what Carey was hiding and why Janessa wasn't talking. I had my ideas and I wanted to keep reading to see if my theories were correct.

What I really appreciated about If You Find Me was that each time I thought the author was veering into something that I thought was yet another typical YA novel troupe, she managed to surprise me. Carey and Janessa's adjustment from being sheltered with their mother and now re-entering a world that is unfamiliar added something new to the story. Their transition isn't easy-and not just for them. Everyone around them is adjusting as well. Carey's father has remarried and has a daughter, Delaney. Yet this wasn't another mean girl storyline. Delaney was caught in the middle of having to deal with everything that was happening and all the what if's that she had dealt with having been caught up in searching for Carey. I also really appreciated the plot with Ryan. At first I thought the novel was veering into another "new girl meets boy" story, but the author made their friendship make sense and Ryan fit into the story in an unexpected way and I really liked the book even more for that.

There is so much here for the reader to unwrap and Emily Murdoch does a great job of saying a lot without saying much. The reader gets to unravel the story-from Delaney and Carey's delicate relationship, to Carey slowly letting her father in, and even in Janessa's relationship with the family dog which was perfect. It's a beautiful, emotional read that wraps you up in the story and doesn't let go.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from advanced copy sent by publisher for review

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tween Tuesday: The Key and the Flame by Claire M. Caterer Blog Tour

Please welcome debut author Claire M. Caterer to GreenBeanTeenQueen! She's currently on her blog tour to celebrate the release of her middle grade debut, The Key and the Flame. I asked Claire to share her thoughts on libraries!

Thanks so much to Sarah for letting GreenBeanTeenQueen host a stop on my blog tour! Sarah asked me to talk some library love, so I’m paying homage to two special libraries I know.

When I was 22 years old, I was a walking cliché: Midwestern girl with big-city dreams. Two days after receiving my college diploma, I hopped a plane to New York City, where I intended to get a job and become a famous writer.

New York is a tough town to hang out in all by yourself. I knew no one, had no job, and the culture shock was extreme, though I never admitted it at the time. Still, I knew I needed to find a home base, somewhere I could feel like myself.

So of course I went to the library.

Even my cocky, I’ll-conquer-the-world attitude was humbled by this library. You know the one I mean: that grand, yawning building guarded by stone lions and opening into glorious, chandeliered interiors.

Photo 1
It’s not a cozy place with armchairs and reading nooks. It’s intimidating. But that’s what I loved: I walked into it and felt small, just like I did when I was a kid in my small-town library, feeling the awe-inspiring weight of all those unread books. Despite its churchlike literary opulence, the NYPL was home. It held amazing secrets in its dusty back rooms full of ancient manuscripts. I could find anything there. I could hold in my hands letters written by a World War I doughboy to his girl back home. One entire room was devoted just to maps, for God’s sake.

Photo 2

And like an alcoholic set loose on Bourbon Street, I marveled that another library was right down the block—the smaller, friendlier Mid-Manhattan Library. Here I could take home Jane Austen and Stephen King for free. All the books I’d been forced to leave behind in Kansas were here waiting for me in hushed rooms shielded from harsh voices and honking taxicabs.

When I was swindled out of $200, when I was grinned at by gin-soaked men, when I wondered what I was doing in New York and why I didn’t go home, I wandered into the NYPL to feel that familiar weight of more books than I could ever read. I didn’t need to go back to Kansas City. I had my own chair under the window at the library. It was right there in the fiction section of the children’s room, where I could curl up, pull down a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and know that I’d come home.

Photo 3

Come back tomorrow for more blog tour fun at The Mod Podge Bookshelf, where Claire shares some embarrassing snippets of childhood writing.  Get the full blog tour schedule right here.

photo credits from top: 1. NYPL exterior by Ken Thomas  (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons; 2. NYPL Maps Division by GK tramrunner229 (own work), reusable under GFDL orCC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; 3. NYPL, Mid-Manhattan branch, by Beyond My Ken (own work), reusable under GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

I really think that Claire and I are kindred spirits! We both moved to big cities after college (although I went to Chicago) from the same Midwest town and both found refuge and comfort in the library! What a wonderful story! 

About The Key and The Flame: Holly wants an adventure. So when her family travels to England, Holly is sure that an adventure awaits. When they arrive, the elderly caretaker of their cottage gives Holly a gift-a key. Holly soon discovers this key is no ordinary key, but has the ability to unlock another world where magic is outlawed and Holly is mistaken for an adept-one who practices magic and must be hunted. When her brother Ben and friend Everett are kidnapped by a ruthless king, Holly must discover the magic within herself to have the adventure she's been waiting for!

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Ok, first off, big props to the Simon & Schuster marketing team for creating an awesome cover. I was reading this book in bed one evening when Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan (who is notoriously picky about his books) picked this one and said "that looks interesting and it has a great cover!" So anytime you can get him to pick up a book, extra points from me! 

The Key and the Flame is an epic adventure that tween readers of fantasy will love. With echoes of Narnia, tweens will love the fantastical worlds, creatures and medieval setting that Holly, Ben and Everett find themselves in. The story started off a bit slowly for my taste, but once it got going and the trio found themselves in a magical world, the plot picked up and the adventure was non-stop. There is a full cast of characters that awaits readers and  the story is full of magical surprises. 

If you have tween readers who are wanting the next fantasy series to get hooked on, give them The Key and the Flame for a nice blend of magic, friendship, and history. 

Book Pairings: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy sent by the publisher for review

Monday, April 8, 2013

Trends in YA: Persphone

Greek Mythology related YA stories have always been, but since the rise of Percy Jackson, it feels like we're seeing more and more Mythology make it's way into YA novels. But there's one myth that seems to cropping up more than others: retellings of Persephone and Hades. Maybe because there's an element of star-crossed romance, maybe it lends itself to angsty romantic plots, but whatever it is, Persephone is a popular character right now.

The first Persephone book I really noticed was back in 2009. I remember reading about this one on Betsy Bird's HarperCollins preview and I knew I wanted to read it based on the cover:

But then the Persephone stories kept coming:

Coming out this year is a dystopian take on Persephone:

And Leila at Bookshelves of Doom posted about another Persephone book coming our way from author Bree Despain.

So what do you think? Do you like reading about Persephone? Is she the myth worth all this attention or is there another mythological story you'd like to be reading more of?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Caldecott Storytime: Week 9

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

Theme: Concept Storytime

Early Literacy Skill: Play With Letters

Opening Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by The Wiggles

Read: First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

-The kids loved guessing what was next in this book. I also loved that the kids pointed out how the book had two stickers on the cover, which gave me a chance to talk about other ALA awards.

Song: These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner

Read: Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert

-Lois Ehlert books are always a hit in storytime anyway, but this one has cut touts and animals, so what's not to love? Plus, the kids loved shouting out what animal they saw in the pictures.

Song: ABCs-since our next book was an alphabet book, I asked the kids if the knew their ABCs and could sing the alphabet song. Of course they took me up on the challenge!

Read: Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson

-This one was lots of fun to point out how to look for letters in unexpected places. Since there are so many alphabet books that are Caldecott winners and honor books, I set up a display of these titles for the kids to check out and many were picked up at the end of storytime.

Song: Listen and Do by Hap Palmer-Hap Palmer may have been around forever, but his music and movement songs are great! Listen and Do is great because it's simple and has great easy movements the kids can do along with the song (move forward and backward, up and down, apart and close, and circle and square). The kids had a blast moving along to this song.


-Letter stamps-I bought a set of letter stamps earlier this year and they are a popular activity for storytime. I put out paper with the stamps and let the kids stamp whatever letters they liked-they loved stamping out their name. 

-Wild Animal Zoo-We have a nice set of plush animals that fit with our Color Zoo story, so I put these out for the kids to tell stories about the animals.

-Color Zoo Craft-I got the idea on Pinterest thanks to an awesome pinner who made these. I  put out scrap paper and plates and let the kids create whatever animal they wanted. This was by far the most popular activity and many kids made more than one animal plate.

How it Went: This was a fantastic storytime! The books went together nicely and the kids responded well to each of the books. They all were interactive books which made the response from the kids even better. The activities were lots of fun and very popular. It was one of my favorite Caldecott themes.

Friday, April 5, 2013

YA Movie News

This is going to be a trailer heavy post today, but there's some other news in the works:

-Catherine Hardwick is set to direct The Age of Miracles film. While the book isn't YA, it has YA appeal and features a young main character.

-Once Upon a Time is creating a spin-off show called Once: Wonderland. There have been lots of Alice in Wonderland YA books lately and another Alice themed show in the works, so Wonderland seems to be quiet the trend right now. Thanks to Cynopsis for the news.

-The CW's Hunger Games-esque reality show, The Hunt, has a summer premier date of July 31.

-In other CW news that's not book related, but still pretty cool: Who's Line Is It Anyway is making a return with new episodes on The CW starting July 16. I think this might cause a rise in improv programs at the library, don't you think? Thanks to Cynopsis for the news.

-A teaser trailer for Catching Fire will air during the MTV Movie Awards on April 14. In the meantime, you can watch the teaser for the teaser:

The first trailer for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has been released: A second trailer for The Mortal Instruments was released this week: And in a creative take on the book trailer, TV-writer-turned YA-novelist, David Iserson, whose debut book Firecracker is released May 16, got some help from his TV friends for the trailer:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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

I love looking at book covers, especially when they change from hardcover to paperback. I think the cover evolution and marketing directions books take is interesting! Here are some recent changes I've seen:


-Simple, yet it gets the story across-I like it


-This one is much more simple, but it works and I really like it. I also think it adds an element of humor the first cover is missing.


-I don't know what I think of this cover. I like how she's coming through the book and entering the story, which gets the plot across,but it just looks a bit odd at the same time-not sure why.


 -I really like the look of this cover, but at the same time it feels a bit historical.


-It's simple, but I like it. I also like how the girl doesn't look too nerdy.


-This one changes the look of the book to a romance Sarah Dessen-esque cover. I like the cover, just not for this book.


-I thought I had talked about this one before, I guess not. I love this cover-so cute, I love the text and the Eiffel Tower in the back.


-This is an OK cover, but it feels like the book is trying to become "new adult" and being marketed to adults more than teens. It also looks a bit more serious to me than the original cover.

-I really like this cover-simple and just the right amount of scary. It flies off my library shelves.


 -I really like the paperback version too. It's a different take than the hardcover, but I think it still manages to get across the mystery of the book. I do think the cover model looks a bit like Kristen Stewart in that photo and I wonder if that will turn off readers thinking this is a Twilight readalike. 

I really like the other two covers in the series:

What covers do you like and dislike?

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