Friday, June 28, 2013

YA Movie News

-Divergent is on the cover of this weeks Entertainment Weekly. The article includes several new photos from the set and early talk about the film, but we'll have to wait until March 2014 to see the final product. I will say, it has me even more excited for the movie!

-A new trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will debut at Comic-Con.

-Paramount has acquired movie rights to The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

-If you can't wait for The Vampire Academy movie, you can win a chance to visit the set!

-Remember Choose Your Own Adventure? A movie version could be in the works and heading to Hollywood!

-And another flashback to childhood: An Encyclopedia Brown movie is in the works with Warner Brothers.  I remember getting a made for TV movie of Encyclopedia Brown from the library when I was a kid and I loved it!

-Lauren Oliver's upcoming book, Panic, has sold movie rights to Universal. The book will be published in 2014.  All of these pre-publication deals have me thinking that Hollywood is finally catching on that some of the best writing is happening in YA!

-Tim Burton is set to direct the film version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The film will release in July 2015.

-Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville (aka Lord Grantham) is in negotiations to star in a Paddington Bear movie.

-In other Downton Abbey star news, Lily James (aka Daisy) will be playing a stepsister in an upcoming version of Cinderella. Helena Bonham Carter has also been cast as the fairy godmother. 

And if this trailer doesn't make you want to go see The Spectacular Now right this moment, I don't know what will:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tips for ALA

ALA is here!! Instead of trying to come up with new tips, I'm sharing a post I wrote back in June 2011 with my tips for ALA-they all still hold true! And if you're there, find me and say hi! :)

ALA is my favorite event of the year! I get to hang out with my favorite people, meet other librarians, network like crazy, learn new things to take back to my library, and of course meet authors! As a librarian and book lover, what's not to love?? This year's ALA will be my fourth conference, so I thought I'd give some advice for conference newbies (or even conference oldies!) because it never hurts to hear someone's take on the massive event that is ALA!

-Make a schedule, but don't be strict about sticking to it. There is a lot to do and there's no way you can do it all, so schedules help a lot. Even if you're not normally a schedule person it can be a lifesaver. It helps to make a schedule before you get to ALA and then look over the conference booklet and add anything else you want. I'm obsessive and color code mine and add times and locations of everything I think I'm interested in attending.

-Don't worry if a session is not for you. Like I said, there's a ton going on and very often there are two or three things going on at the same time that I want to attend. If a session isn't for you, leave and check something else out. If you can only attend part of a session, go ahead. It's better to be there for half of it than miss out on it altogether.

-Take time to relax. ALA is HUGE and overwhelming, so be prepared to be overwhelmed and bogged down. Also expect to be exhausted. I didn't expect to be so tired my first ALA and I got back and went to bed early every night! So make sure you take time for yourself to relax before each days events.

-Wear comfy shoes. Everyone says this over and over but it's so true. I've even stashed flats in my bag just in case my shoes for a nicer event don't work out and I want flats to walk back to the hotel in. ALA is spread out, so there's lots of walking, so be nice to your feet!

(Me getting my network on!)

-Network like crazy! One of the things I love at ALA is that you can just go up to people and start talking. See someone reading? Ask what they think of the book. Standing in line? Introduce yourself and chat away. Exchange business cards (make sure to have some on hand-Vista Print will make some for free!) and try to e-mail everyone from the cards you collect saying how great it was to meet them. Networking is HUGE and you never know where it can lead you! Want to serve on a committee? Network! Looking for a job? Network! Don't just talk to your friends and people you know, meet new ones. I love that you don't have to be shy at ALA-you can talk to everyone, everywhere and it's so great to talk to people who share your passion and exchange ideas.

-Stand Out. This one might not be easy for everyone, but it can help when people are trying to find you or meet you in person after meeting online. I have pink hair, which helps me stand out a bit and also helps people remember me. Now, I know not everyone is going to dye there hair for ALA (but that would be awesome!) So bring a business card that's unique, wear a t-shirt with a fun logo for your library or blog, wear an awesome hairpiece, anything that makes you a bit memorable and helps you stand out among the sea of librarians is good.

-Attend Meetups. I have the ILOAs-a group of librarian friends that make it a point to meet up at every ALA we attend. I also have groups of friends that I've met at ALA and I try to meet up with them for drinks, dinner-whatever! Catch up with the people you know as well as meeting new ones. Attend meetups that are already organized as an easy way to network and meet other librarians. The blogger meetup is a great way to meet other blogging librarians!

-Take a Tote Bag for Goodies. Yes, you can get tons of tote bags on the exhibit floor, but very often these aren't very strong and start to hurt after loading them up with goodies to take back to your library. So instead, I bring my trusty tote bag that has nice shoulder straps and I make sure to carry that one as my good bag. The less my shoulders have to endure the better! If you can, bring a book sherpa! Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan is usually mine and boy is it nice to have a tall, strong man to carry everything for you! Sadly, this year I'll be on my own, so my poor shoulders will have to hurt a bit, but if you can't bring a book sherpa, get him to stay home and install hardwood floors in your house!;)

-Mind Your Manners. Getting galleys and meeting authors is exciting, but don't push people out of the way. The exhibit floor is crowded, everyone is loaded up with bags, so watch where you're going and if you bump someone (which most likely will happen!) say sorry. And don't be a book hog-share the wealth. Librarians use galleys for their school or public library-as prizes, for teens to read as part of a review program, and also for themselves so they know what books to purchase and spend the wee library budgets on. So remember your manners and remember it's nice to take one book (or poster, or bag, or whatever goodie it is!) per person.

-Take Advantage of the Mail Room/Spot. Just like it's good to relax, it's nice to get off the exhibit floor, collect yourself and the various things you must now ship back to your library. The mail room isn't always a room, but a spot off the exhibit floor, but it can provide a much needed break to unpack, unwind and relax before you go back in!

-Be a Tourist. ALA is held in awesome locations, so be sure to take time to explore the city you're visiting. Eat not just at touristy attractions, but try a great local place. Visit local attractions, go on a tour-do something! This is a great way to relax and unwind between conference happenings.

If you're going to ALA, try to find me! Remember, I have pink hair!:) Have a blast and enjoy the trip!

Any other tips for ALA? I'd love to hear them and add them to the list!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Flash Reviews: Audiobooks

I've been working my way through the state book award lists over the past few months and luckily by library has lots of the nominated titles on audiobook. Here are some of my recent favorites from the state list in audiobook format:

                                Variant by Robinson Wells

Rating: 4/5 Stars
When Benson gets a full scholarship to Maxfield Academy, he doesn't think twice about it. But once he arrives he realizes this is no ordinary school. A strange boarding school, no adults, and weird rules? I was sold from the start. The narrator does a great job of building the suspense and the author excels at keeping the reader (or listener in this case) guessing. It's a twisty mystery that was a blast to listen to. And trust me, there's an ending you'll never see coming and when you get there, you'll be scrambling for the sequel right away.


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rory moves to London, attends a new boarding school, and gets caught up in "Rippermania" that is sweeping London. After an accident, she is able to see ghosts. This was the perfect blend of mystery, ghost story, humor, and light reading. Maureen Johnson balances all of this nicely into a very engaging package and I loved listening to it on audio because not only are the characters even more fun and engaging this way, but I loved the various accents! Secret socities, a bit of history, ghosts, and incredibly likable main character in Rory made me fall in love with this book. Perfect for readers who think ghost stories aren't for them-this one is just so fun and mysterious you can't help but keep listening.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
Rating: 4/5 Stars

It's prom night and Perry just wants to make it to his band concert in New York City. But he's stuck taking his family's exchange student to prom. But when they arrive in NYC on Gobi's last night in the US, Perry is in for a night of surprises-and Gobi is not who Perry thought she was. This book is the perfect example of an audiobook making all the difference. Everyone kept telling me this book was awesome, but when I tried to read it, I just couldn't get into it. Then I attended the BFYA Teen Feedback session at ALA Midwinter and a teen mentioned how much she enjoyed this book on audio. I gave it a try and I have to agree-audio is the way to go. It's a hilarious, high stakes romp that reminded me a bit of the TV show Chuck. A nerd, a kickbutt spy/assasin girl, and a crazy night in New York City-what could be more fun? The narrator really makes Perry's conflicting emotions real and ups the adventure through his narration. It's a fun romp that I was glad I gave a second chance.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So You Want to Read MG: Author Holly Schindler

Welcome to a special series at GreenBeanTeenQueen, So You Want To Read Middle Grade? Today's guest post is from author Holly Schindler. 

Holly is the author of two YA novels, A Blue So Dark and Playing Hurt as well as the upcoming MG novel, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky (Dial). You can catch up with Holly at her MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle.


Some backstory: I took the plunge into writing fulltime in ’01, after obtaining my master’s.  I began by writing work for adults.  Teaching music lessons to pay a few bills, though, helped me to realize how similar kids today are to the kids I grew up with—the fashion and technology changes, but the struggles don’t!  I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing for kids…and quickly realized that I also needed to reconnect with the MG genre.  Now with a MG—THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY—in development with Dial, I’ve got a few quick and dirty tips to share with those who are dipping their toes into the kid-lit waters:

1.      Read the books you remember loving as a kid.  It’s so much easier to write from the eyes of a child if you can reconnect with that child you used to be.  Books, I think, are a lot like songs—plunging back into the pages of a book you once loved, you’ll find yourself flooded with all the emotions, senses, etc. you once experienced as you read the book for the first time.  It’ll help you remember what made you love reading as a child—what you personally connected with—and you’ll also remember more vividly who you were at that age, too.

2.      Head to your library and yank covers featuring different color schemes from the shelf.  I know we’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, feel free!  Different color schemes often denote the type (or subgenre) of the MG in your hand: pink / purple is sure to be a girly escapade, while dark blues and blacks are almost certain to be indicative of a mystery.

You may have some idea of what subgenre you want to write (mystery, contemporary, etc.), but I think it’s important to read a sampling of all the subgenres out there—a book that’s in a different subgenre than your planned work will sometimes be especially helpful in really illuminating the tone or conventions of the subgenre you DO plan to write in.  (Nothing speaks louder than differences, sometimes.)

A few great authors to start with: If you’re looking for an adventure, try THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES, by Brian Farrey.  If it’s a mystery you’re after, snag one of the Margaret Peterson Haddix books.  Want a good boy book?  Try Geoff Rodkey’s CHRONICLES OF EGG.  Lisa Graff is a great pick for contemporary MGs.

3.      Follow my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle:  The announcement, “I’m going to be a writer!” isn’t often met with great excitement—in fact, it’s more often met with a roll of the eyes and a heavy sigh (if not a few chuckles).  At Smack Dab, you’ll find a fantastic group of MG authors who all blog about the writing life (and writing for kids specifically).  Smack Dab offers a great community for anyone who’s interested in writing for kids.  While a group of us blog regularly, we also feature guest posts and interviews with new authors, editors, and agents—we even interviewed a book reviewer at PW!  It’s a great place to connect with like-minded individuals, learn about the industry, and discover some fantastic new authors.

In advance, I welcome you aboard Smack Dab—and I wish you the best of luck in your writing endeavors!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Where are the Kickbutt Girls Without the Romance?

My library was chosen last year to be one of YALSA's Galley Groups, which means our teens get to read and review advanced copies of books to include in YALSA's Teens Top Ten.

One of my galley group teens came into the library last week to pick out a new book to read. As she was browsing the shelves of ARCs, she asked me "where are all the kickbutt girls in YA without the romance? Every YA book has to have a romance plotline! Why can't the girls just be awesome?" She then picked up an advanced copy, read the cover copy, and sighed "See? This one would have been so good before it got to 'and then she meets boy' here."

Her comments got me thinking-where are the awesome girls without romance? Now, I love a good romantic plot, but I also love when it doesn't overshadow the characters and the story. I got to thinking about some of my favorite kickbutt awesome girls, and they all have a romantic story to them.

Alina (Shadow and Bone)-another awesome girl, but with romance in the story

Bitterblue (Bitterblue)-she's a pretty awesome character who stands up to her advisers, but she also has a romantic interest in one of the characters as a side plot

Ismae (Grave Mercy)-she's an assassin nun, but that doesn't stop her from falling in love

Katniss (The Hunger Games)-she's caught in a love triangle

Katsa (Graceling) -she has a relationship with Po, and while I don't think it overshadows her awesomeness, it's still a big part of the story

Wally (Dark Eyes)-Her romance may not end well, but it's still part of the story

Those are just some of my recent favorites that I immediately thought of when she started asking about awesome girls in YA. The more I thought about it, the more I had trouble thinking of some really awesome kickbutt girls with no romance featured. The only recent book I  could think of was Code Name Verity:

That led me to think about Elizabeth Wein's list of Top Ten Dynamic Duos in Fiction , which as she pointed out on Twitter, was sadly lacking in girls.

So where are our the kickbutt awesome girls? They don't need to have romance in the story to make it work, so why do we keep including romance in their stories?

Can you help me think of any other awesome girls without the romance?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Matilda Turns 25 PLUS Giveaway!

Matilda is turning 25 this year! Kind of unbelievable, right? How can it already be 25 years since this wonderfully witty, intelligent five-year-old sprang onto the literary scene, inspiring all of us to read more and fight the man with our powers of telekinesis (Er, or just wish we had powers of telekinesis)? We’re celebrating this milestone with an epic 25-stop blog tour! Follow along to find out how your favorite bloggers feel about Matilda, and for a chance to win a Matilda prize pack at each and every stop!

This quote says it all: 
“Matilda said, ‘I would like a really good one that grown-ups read. A famous one. I don’t know any names.’
Mrs. Phelps looked along the shelves, taking her time. She didn’t quite know what to bring out. How, she asked herself, does one choose a famous grown-up book for a four-year-old girl? Her first thought was to pick a young teenager’s romance of the kind that is written for fifteen-year-old schoolgirls, but for some reason she found herself walking past that particular shelf.
‘Try this,’ she said at last, ‘It’s very famous and very good. If it’s too long for you, just let me know and I’ll find something shorter and a bit easier.’
‘Great Expectations,’ Matilda read, ‘by Charles Dickens. I’d love to try it.’
I must be mad, Mrs. Phelps told herself, but to Matilda she said, ‘Of course you may try it.’ –p.15, Matilda

That’s the key, isn’t it? Teachers and librarians foster a love of books in students by introducing them to new books and helping them stretch their limits. Every Wednesday, hear from teachers and librarians on the Matilda 25th Anniversary tour about how they have interacted with kids and books, just like Mrs. Phelps helped Matilda! 

When I was in fourth grade, my class read James and the Giant Peach. I loved the book so much, that I wrote a letter to the author, Roald Dahl, not knowing he had passed away. The publisher ended up sending me a box of Roald Dahl goodies-stickers, posters, and a mobile of his characters! It meant so much to me as a reader that they would take time to answer a young girls fan letter.

That's one thing I love about being a librarian. It it my job to help kids find the most perfect book-and often times that includes books by Roald Dahl. His creativity and wit is still as popular as ever. When readers come into the library looking for something funny and smart, I always take them over to the D's and introduce them to this author. It makes my job even better when I get to match readers with books they will love, and I get to do that wit Matilda. Books like Matilda have lasted 25 years because they hold an endless appeal-which makes it easy for me to suggest that book to a reader. I know they're in for a treat when they pick it up and enter Matilda's world! And I love being one of the gatekeepers who have helped them discover what great books are out there. When they come back with a smile on their face and tell me how much they loved a book I've given them, it makes my job all worth it.

I'm so excited to be able to share Matilda with you! Thanks to Penguin books and Matilda the Musical, one lucky winner will win a Matilda prize pack: a paperback copy of Matilda , one copy of the Matilda Broadway soundtrack, and a Matilda the Musical Broadway poster!

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what book a librarian or teacher helped introduce you to as a child. Contest open to US addresses only, ages 13+, ends June 26.

Did you know Matilda is now a Tony Award-nominated Broadway Musical? The show opened in April and has already been nominated for 12 Tony Awards, including Best Musical! Since not everyone can go to New York City to see the show in person, Penguin Teen is bringing the show to you with a Matilda the Musical prize pack giveaway! Enter to win a copy of the Matilda the Musical soundtrack, a Matilda the Musical poster, and a paperback copy of Matilda by Roald Dahl! You can buy tickets, see pictures, and listen to music from Matilda the Musical on their website:
About Roald Dahl:
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Llandaff, South Wales, and went to Repton School in England. His parents were Norwegian, so holidays were spent in Norway. As he explains in Boy, he turned down the idea of university in favor of a job that would take him to "a wonderful faraway place.” In 1933 he joined the Shell Company, which sent him to Mombasa in East Africa. When World War II began in 1939 he became a fighter pilot and in 1942 was made assistant air attaché in Washington, where he started to write short stories. His first major success as a writer for children was in 1964. Thereafter his children's books brought him increasing popularity, and when he died children mourned the world over. Matilda was published just two years before he died. Quentin Blake, the first Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom, has illustrated most of Roald Dahl's children's books.
About Matilda: Matilda is a genius. Unfortunately, her family treats her like a dolt. Her crooked car-salesman father and loud, bingo-obsessed mother think Matilda's only talent is as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in their miserable lives. But it's not long before the sweet and sensitive child decides to fight back. Faced with practical jokes of sheer brilliance, her parents don't stand a chance.
Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.
Be sure to visit the Official Matilda Facebook page to keep up with all things Matilda
To find out more about Matilda the Musical on Broadway, visit their Facebook page
For the next stop on the Matilda 25th Anniversary blog tour, head to Bookshelf Banter tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So You Want To Read Middle Grade?

I am very excited to introduce a new blog series here at GreenBeanTeenQueen! If you're a reader of this blog, you know I love reading and talking about middle grade. I recently did a post for my friend Kelly at Stacked for their series "So You Want to Read YA?" We talked about doing a middle grade series along the same lines, and here it is! So be sure to check back for some great suggestions on what to read if you're looking for some great middle grade books! Here are some of my favorites to get you started:

-Shug was one of the first "tween" books I read when I started working in the library and it rang so true with it's pitch perfect middle grade voice. I think it was one of the books that got me excited about working with this age group and wanting to do programming for the 8-12 year-old set. It's still one I love to recommend!

-Linda Urban is the queen of tween and her debut novel shows why. She writes memorable characters that you never want to say goodbye to and her books manage to sneak in a great emotional punch in a way you never expected.

-First of all, how can you resist that title? This is one of my most suggested series I give to readers in the library. And it's one that patrons come back asking for the next book in the series because they love it so much. It's a crazy romp that has a bit of fantasy and a ton of humor-and of course evil librarians. Just do yourself a favor and go read this one right now!

-I love humor in my books and this one is full of hilarious situations and a very fun storyline. A middle school mafia complete with a godfather-type, a noir detective, and water balloons? I'm in.

And you gotta have some classics:

-Such amazing storytelling that gets better with each read.

And my favorite book of all time:

From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

-I still want to run away to a museum!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Clementine and the Spring Trip Blog Tour and Author Interview

One of the joys of being a librarian is introducing readers to books. I love when a young beginning reader comes into the library looking for a new book to read. When they tell me they want something realistic and funny, I always point them to the Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker.

In Clementine and the Spring Trip, Clementine is feeling a bit nervous about her upcoming class trip to Plimoth Plantation. She's hoping there is a lot of doing suff there, not just looking stuff. But Clementine is really worried about the eating sounds that her friend Margaret has warned her about-the fourth graders have a rule about making noise while you eat and Margaret won't even tell Clementine about what will happen if she makes noise! And there's a chance they might have to ride the smelliest bus on the field trip!

What I love about the Clementine books is that just feel real. I feel like I know Clementine and her family and I love reading about them. Clementine's voice is pitch perfect for readers looking for early chapter books. Her adventures feel realistic, her observations on life and her thoughts on family, friends and school match young readers perfectly and she's just a lot of fun to read about! I loved her story in the Spring Trip-she reminded me a lot of myself at that age-worrying about things at school. But Clementine is able to figure things out and she makes it through-no matter what. She may be surrounded by some eccentric characters but they don't feel out of place or eccentric in Clementine's world-they work. I adore her friend Margaret and her clean obsession (one I wish I shared! Margaret can come clean my house any day!) Clementine's parents are also so loveable and likable and I love watching their relationship unfold throughout the story-and I especially love her relationship with her father. The special gift they are making her mom is so sweet and adorable I wanted to reach through the book and give both of them a hug! Clementine is just so fun to be around I love escaping into her world for awhile!

Clementine and the Spring Trip is another wonderful entry into the Clementine Series. Readers who have visited Clementine before will love reading about another adventure in her life and readers new to the series will want to go back and visit with Clementine again. A wonderful addition to any library and perfect for early chapter book readers.

I was lucky enough to ask Sara Pennypacker a few questions about writing the Clementine series as part of the blog tour:

Do you and Clementine share any personality traits?
When I was beginning the second Clementine I moaned (theatrically, I’m afraid) at a writing meeting that “now I’ll have to find her voice again.” One of my critique partners said, “Come on, Sara. Clementine’s voice is your voice.” I scoffed at that, and later repeated her ridiculous observation to a friend. My friend stopped dead in her tracks and said, “Seriously, Sara, don’t know this?” And I did have to finally accept that indeed, I think the same way Clementine does (okay fine, I have the teensiest problem with attention) and that if I didn’t work so hard keeping my grown-up, responsible-behavior mask on, I would say and do the things she does, as well.
I have to say, though, that we differ a lot in that when I was eight years old, I was painfully shy. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone, so I could draw and read and ramble through fields on the look-out for orphaned fawns or wounded falcons who would follow me home and be devoted pets.

Why do you write for children?
Well, I can’t answer that question without separating it into two parts. Why do I write? That’s like asking why I breathe. I write because I’d probably keel over dead if I didn’t. Since the time I learned to read, the last image I was conscious of before I went to sleep each night has been text. Letters forming phrases that made only a dream-like sense, wanting to be stories. It’s how I experience, and then make sense out of, the world – by putting it into words, and then putting the words into a narrative order.

Now, why do I write for children? Well, it’s true that I’ve written 20 books now, and 19 are for kids. (Actually, my only adult fiction – MY ENEMY’S CRADLE, written as Sara Young, has a main character who is 19, so that could arguably have been marketed as YA.) Still, I don’t write for children by choice - I’m a little too busy here in the studio wrassling plot and character and word order, etc., to think about who should read my story. It just happens, and that’s lucky, because if it were a choice, I would write for kids - for too many reasons to list.
Here are my top two: First, books can make a profound difference to a young reader: they can either mirror his experience in a way that says, “Look, you’re already a member of the human tribe, Welcome!” or they can open up a whole different path than the one she’s on. Secondly, because of the connection triangle: Reader-character-author. Authors really connect with their characters, and readers really connect with them, too. But only young readers make the final connection – between themselves and the author. And they are right. When I love Clementine, yes, I am also saying I love all the kids who share traits with her, including the child who’s holding the book right now. And young readers love their authors back. This is a responsibility, and one I take seriously by always trying to write with kindness – I understand that if I’m not kind about my characters’ flaws, some reader will take it that I’m being insensitive toward their own. But mostly it’s a privilege – after all, I think the great business of being alive is to make connections between oneself, one’s work, one’s world and the others in it. Whether I’m aware of them or not, engaged young readers make my life rich with connection.

What fictional character would you like to have dinner with?
Definitely Ole Golly, from HARRIET THE SPY.  So tough, such wise observations about life. Everything that came out of her mouth was interesting. Plus, I bet she could tell me how Harriet turned out...

Be sure to catch Sarah and Clementine on tour:

Mon, June 17: GreenBeanTeenQueen -
Tues, June 18: Once Upon a Story -
Wed, June 19: Mother Daughter Book Club -
Thurs, June 20: Media Darlings -
Fri, June 21: Sharpread -
Mon, June 24: Children's Book Review -
Tues, June 25: Kid Lit Frenzy -
Wed, June 26: There's a Book -
Thurs, June 27: As They Grow Up -
Fri, June 28 Bookingmama

Full Disclosure: Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy of the book to read and review.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Judge a Book By Its Cover: Hardcover to Paperback

I haven't posted a cover change post in awhile, so I thought I would post some recent cover changes I've come across. I asked Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan as we were browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble if it was sad that I could recognize a cover change when I see the book on the shelf, and he replied, "if you have to ask me if it's sad, it is." :) I'm so immersed in book covers all the time because of my job (how many times as a librarian do we have to find a book based on what the cover looked like?) that I recognize cover changes right away. Some I like and some I don't. I'm not the only one who notices these changes when browsing online or in bookstores, right?

What do you think of these:

Beneath a Meth Moon 


-I really like how plain the hardcover is, but I think the paperback might have more appeal for teens looking for an obviously gritty read.

Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls


-As creepy as the paperback is, it seems more juvenile to me. I like the mystery of hardcover.



-This is another one where I really like both covers,  but there's something dark about the paperback that I find really appealing-I think it's the black and white photo with the red letters-it makes it stand out.

The Butterfly Clues


-I really like the hardcover in this one-I think it's the color scheme in the hardcover I like better. But I really love how the butterfly inkblot more in the paperback.

What cover changes have you come across recently? Any you liked or disliked?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blog Tour: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Welcome to the STAR CURSED blog tour! STAR CURSED is the second book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles.

Let me tell you a little bit about this series-it's the perfect summer read! It's an alternative history with witches-what's not to love? And yes, I know there's a love triangle, but I have to say, this is one love triangle where I was just as torn as the main character (although I do love Finn!!) I don't know who I would rather see Cate with and that makes reading the series even more fun. And oh my goodness, that cliffhanger ending-trust me-Jessica is brilliant and a bit mean for making us suffer! :) If you're looking for a fun historical series with a magic twist, be sure to follow along on the tour and have a chance to win a special ARC from Jessica!

About the Book: With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to BORN WICKED, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

I am so excited to be part of this tour! As part of the blog tour, each day Jess is revealing an annotated snippet from STAR CURSED. I love annotations in books and I am loving following along the tour and reading Jessica's notes throughout the book. You don't want to miss out!

If you add up the page number from each stop during the tour, you can enter to win a one-of-a-kind annotated ARC plus a star trio necklace! Find the other stops below, and on June 21, enter the Rafflecopter here:

Tues, 6/4:  Ex Libris Kate 
Wed, 6/5:  Mundie Moms 
Thurs, 6/6:  Presenting Lenore
Fri, 6/7:  Hobbitsies

Mon, 6/10:  Green Bean Teen Queen 
Tues, 6/11:  I Read Banned Books
Wed, 6/12:  Two Chicks on Books
Thurs, 6/13:  Forever Young Adult
Fri, 6/14:  The Story Siren

Mon, 6/17:  YA Bibliophile
Tues, 6/18:  Marie Lu 
Wed, 6/19:  Beth Revis
Thurs, 6/20:  Veronica Rossi
Fri, 6/21:  Marissa Meyer

STAR CURSED releases on June 18. You can read the first chapter here.

Pre-order links: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Find Jess online: blog | Twitter | Facebook | Cahill Witch Inspiration pinboard

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer Reading Recap #2

We have just finished our third week of summer reading!! The first week of June means that our programming is back full time, which means we're even more crazy busy than before! Here's what my Youth Services Department did this week:

-We answered 692 reference questions, which averages out to 99 questions a day!
-We told patrons about SRP/gave out SRP game boards & info 395 times-which averages out to 56 families  a day!

We had 11 in house programs this week! (Crazy, I know!)

-We hosted six storytimes (three birth-3 and three age 3-6) that had 188 kids and 107 adults.
-I introduced a new Bookworms Early Reader storytime for ages 4-8 that had 6 kids and 4 adults.
-Staff member S hosted a tween program that included a Gnome craft-they built adorable gnome houses-and a big screen showing of Gnomeo and Juliet for 8 kids and 3 adults.
-Staff member M hosted a Pirate Treasure Hunt for ages 3-12 that brought in 49 kids and 36 adults. The highlight was hunting down four ticking clocks ala Peter Pan's crocodile that was hidden in the department.
-I hosted a Bibliobop Dance Party for ages 2-6 that had 20 kids and 16 adults dancing and bopping along!
-Staff member C changed up the day and time for our Teen Library Council and grew the group to 7 teens this month!

In addition to our staff led programs, we hosted three outside performers. This week we hosted two performers.
-Our first performer was an evening show that featured five live animals (a hawk, a shrieking armadillo, a python, a tortoise, and a fruit bat) from Animal Tales. If you live in their travel area, I highly recommend their shows-the kids had a blast and our presenter was very engaging and funny and taught the kids a lot about the animals he brought along. We had 68 kids and 48 adults which  I was thrilled with for an evening program.

-Our second performer was a magician and comedian named Oh My Gosh Josh from Circus Kaput. What I loved about his show was the fact that he tied it all back to reading and the library. His show was about how he became a magician for pirates and traveled on a pirate ship to reading island. His magic tricks made the kids all say wow and laughing out loud. Again, I highly recommend him as a performer! Between his two shows we had 172 kids and 67 adults.

And lastly, we increased our teen SRP sign ups by 120 teens (we're now at 742!) and added 614 kids who have gotten to at least level one on their SRP game boards in the kids program (we're now at 1178 kids total!) We also have had 7 babies complete our new Tiny Tots program!

What a week! We have a little bit less next week, so maybe we'll have some time to breathe. I'm pretty happy with our program turn out so far, but I do wish we could draw in the same kind of numbers as we draw in with our large performers. I think we as librarians put on some great programs and I would love to advertise these more to our patrons. I would also like to work on making sure our patrons that visit in the summer know we have all sorts of programs and events happening during the school year too, so I'm hoping to work on that a lot this summer.

Anyone else in the midst of summer reading programs yet? How are yours going?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blog Tour: The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger by Jenny Meyerhoff

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Humor

Release Date: 6/4/2013

About the Book: Louie wants nothing more than to be a stand up comedian. He has his own stage built in his closet and he practices his act in front of his clothes. He wants to be just like his late night hero, Lou Lafferman. But whenever Louie gets on stage, he gets stage fright. With the fifth-grade talent show coming up, Louie could get his big break. Will be the star of the show or will he be the chicken?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I love funny books and The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger is a perfect read to add to your list if you're looking for something to make you laugh out loud. It's perfect for readers looking for something along the lines of The Creature From My Closet or Origami Yoda series. I think the humor style will be exactly what those readers are looking for. While it's illustrated with several illustrations throughout, it's not as illustrated as the comic-style Wimpy Kid types, but I think readers who have read those and are ready for something more that still hits their funny bone will love it.

Not only is Louie trying to make it on stage, he's also dealing with some typical middle grade problems that the author injects with a nice dose of humor. Louie isn't sure his best friend Nick is still his best friend, especially after the new kid, Thermos, arrives at school and Nick seems to like sports now-and Louie hates sports and is not sporty one bit! Louie's dad is struggling after he's lost his job to find a new passion and wants to make art, but is feeling rejected. The story parallels nice with Louie's attempts to overcome his stage fright and he and his dad help each other.

Louie Burger is a fun main character, but I especially adored his little sister Ruby, who is obsessed with unicorns. Anytime Ruby was around, I was cracking up! The book is also full of Louie's lists of how to annoy your sisters, fun barf slang words, and backpack fighting tips. If you have middle grade readers looking for a book that will make them laugh out loud, have them try Louie Burger. Who knows, you may inspire a stand up comedian at your library?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Reading Recap #1

We're two weeks into our Summer Reading Program (SRP) which started May 18th and the library is buzzing with summer readers! We have been extremely busy passing out summer reading game boards and prizes and helping kids find books to read this summer. One of the most fun, and most frustrating, aspects of summer reading is that our bookshelves get raided so all those popular series titles kids want and parents are familiar with (Harry Potter, Junie B. Jones, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Magic Tree House) tend to be frequently checked out with few to no copies left on the shelf. This is frustrating for patrons who only want what is familiar but also can be fun for us as we get to jump into reader's advisory more and help these readers branch out and find something new (which can also be tricky as frequent go to readalikes tend to also be checked out!)

So here's what we've been up to in our first two weeks of summer reading:

-This year I did a kickoff party on the day SRP started. This was a change from last year when I did it the first Saturday in June, about two weeks after SRP started. There was some patron concern that they felt "behind" in summer reading by having the kickoff program set after the technical start date, so this year I hoped to ease those concerns by having it happen all on the same day. It was a massive event!

 Our theme this year is Dig Into Reading, I started the day off with a storytime about dinosaurs at 10:00 in the department, then opened the doors to the storyhour room which was filled with crafts and activities. There was "cave drawing" (butcher paper taped to the wall to color on), pasta dinosaur bones (glue pasta onto paper in the shape of a dinosaur) , pirate parrots (taped onto a clothespin so you can wear your paper parrot like a pirate), and SRP passports (which we create every year for kids to get stamped on each visit to the library).

I also created two scavenger hunts around the library. One was easier with clues on which department to find each pyramid. The second said there were seven dinosaurs hidden around the library and the dinos were numbered. There weren't any clues, they just had to wander around the library and find the dinosaurs. We had done a scavenger hunt similar to this before and it was a huge hit, but the dinos were hidden a bit too hard, so we had to adjust the hiding places early on so people could find them.

The crafts and scavenger hunt were kept up all day and was come and go.

The rest of the day was filled with other fun activities: 11:00-The Land Before Time Movie, 1:00-Pirate Storytime, 2:00-Journey to the Center of the Earth Movie, 4:00-Garden Storytime, 7:00-Geezerfest concert on the patio. We host a concert with a local band every year so we tied it into our kickoff.

So how did it go? It was OK. The library was super busy and having all those activities just added to the craziness. While around 80 kids and 40 adults ended up visiting the come and go craft room during the day, the majority of that group came at 10:00 when the kickoff started and the afternoon crowd just happened to wander in because it was open, not because they came of the kickoff. The movies attracted small crowds-the first storytime had 30 kids, second 11 kids, and the third 5 kids. I held them in the department to attract a crowd.

I think next year I'll keep the first major event on the first Saturday in June and just not call it a kickoff but an SRP celebration or something as I felt last year's later event had a larger attendance and more interest.

And just for fun, here are our SRP stats so far:

From May 18-May 30, we gave the SRP spiel to approximately 1132 families (I try to keep track of how many times we pass out SRP info, tell people about the program, etc. because it takes staff time and I want it  counted in our statistics. I also like to see how many families we tell about SRP and compare that with how many return with the game boards. This is an approximate number because we don't always remember to mark down when we talk about SRP, but it feels like a million times a day!!!)

Youth Services Staff answered 1100 reference questions (this means we answered books about books, helped people find information, put items on hold, etc.) This was just in 13 days, which is interesting to think about when you look at April and realize in the entire month of April, we answered 1618 reference questions. This gives an idea of how busy we are in the summer!!

And so far this year my library branch has 622 teens and 564 kids who have signed up for SRP or completed at least one level of the summer reading program!

So that means for the past few days we have talked about SRP about 87 times a day, answered questions about 85 times a day and helped kids with SRP prizes 43 times a day. And that doesn't even include game computer signups, helping with internet and game computer questions, straightening the shelves, picking up books and toys, assisting with the shelf check machine in the department, or updating library cards!

If you see a librarian this summer make sure to give them a hug-and maybe some chocolate! We need it!!!
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