Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So You Want to Read Middle Grade: Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan

My husband, aka, Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan just started his first year of teaching this Fall. He's teaching middle school geography. I asked him what his students were reading in school and here's what he's noticed as the most popular:

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

-This series is standing the test of time and a new generation of readers is discovering it for the first time. It's one of the most popular choices among students.

The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan 

-Students were excited about the most recent release in this series and it's been circulating in my classroom.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

-Not many of my students were as excited about this series-I'd say only about 15% of my students went to see Catching Fire over the weekend, but those that did see it were excited to talk about it and enjoy the series.

Other popular choices-

The students in my class also seem to be reading whatever is one our state book award list. I've also noticed a lot of my students reading Mike Lupica.

Want to write a guest post about middle grade? Contact me at greenbeanteenqueen at gmail dot com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fandom Starts Early Storytime

Can you name all of The Hobbit characters?

I am a big geek and one of the things that I love about working in the library is that I get to work with people who share my love for geeky pop culture-both staff and patrons. I've been wanting to do a geeky storytime for awhile and finally hosted one a couple of weeks ago. Here's what I did:

To help set the mood, I had the kids walk into Hedwig’s Theme

Opening Song: Clap Your Hands by They Might Be Giants

Book: Star Wars ABC-I had the kids help out and call out the characters they knew when they came across them. They knew most of them and I had quite a few Star Wars fans in the group which made this book fun.

Song: Soft Kitty-when I announced this song, I got a big laugh from the parents in the room

Soft kitty,
Warm kitty,
Little ball of fur.
Happy kitty,
Sleepy kitty,
Purr, purr, purr.

Book: Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon

Song: Robot Parade by They Might Be Giants

Rhyme: Star Trek Ok, not really a rhyme but I wanted something fun to add, so I had the kids help recite this while we practiced making the Vulcan salute.

"Space... The final frontier...
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Its continuing mission:
To explore strange new worlds...
To seek out new life; new civilisations...
To boldly go where no one has gone before!"

Read: Star Trek Opposites

Song: The Freeze by Greg and Steve-I introduced this song with a picture of Dr. Horrible and his freeze ray and explained that Dr. Horrible had a freeze ray that would make us freeze. I held up the picture of Dr. Horrible each time the music stopped and would say "oh no! Dr. Horrible got us again! Let's dance so he can't get us!" and the kids loved it.

Parachute: Firefly Theme Song-I printed off two picture of Serenity and attached them to a popsicle stick to give it some weight so it would fly. I told the kids we were going to help the ship fly in the parachute and we bounced the ship around in the parachute while the theme song played.


-Make your own Dalek Craft-I used paper cups, dot stampers (which ended up being pretty messy), colored pom-poms, craft sticks and cotton swabs. The kids could decorate the cup and poke the craft stick and cotton swab in the cup to make it look like a Dalek. This one was messy but fun!

-Character Matching-I printed off photos of characters with their signature item (Kirk and the Enterprise, Han Solo and Millennium Falcon, the Doctor and the TARDIS, etc) and the kids had to match the characters with what they belonged to.

-Robot Shapes-To go along with Robot, Zombie, Frankenstein, I provided the kids with scraps of paper, markers, scissors and glue and had them create their own robots using various shapes.

-Superhero Mask Making-I used our diecut of a mask and gave the kids markers and string to create a superhero mask.

-Eraser Wookies-I got this idea from Art2D2's Guide to Folding and Drawing. Using a marker you make lines on an eraser, then stamp them onto paper. The lines look like fur and you can add a face and armor to your wookie.

-Name the characters in The Hobbit-I recycled this one from my Hobbit Day Celebration. I printed off the cast photos of all the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo and hung them in a row and had the kids and parents try to name each character. I did put them in alphabetical order to make it easier for everyone.

How it Went: I had a pretty good turnout for an evening storytime (I think I ended up with 18 kids and 12 adults). The crowd enjoyed the storytime and had lots of fun, but there weren't many truly geeky parents there as I had hoped. I didn't think I had picked obscure fandoms, but no one really seemed to know much about any of the fandoms except Star Wars (I did have one parent recognize Firefly). The kids were mostly excited about Star Wars. Even though they didn't know all the fandoms, they had a blast making the crafts and the mask making was the most popular station followed by the robots and the daleks. I felt like most of my crowd wasn't there specifically for the storytime but just happened to be in the library so attended because they were there. (We don't do registration for our storytimes and they are open to anyone, so I pulled in a big crowd from who was in the department.) I know at least one boy came just for the Star Wars book and activities which he was thrilled about!

I would love to repeat it and I think there are so many other fandoms to include and so much more you could do! I would like to figure out how to attract a more geeky appreciative audience, so I'm thinking of tying it in with another program we host or advertising it at the comic book and game store.

I had a blast and loved sharing all the geeky fandoms with the kids!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So You Want to Read Middle Grade?

Since I've been hosting this series, I've been thinking a lot about middle grade books. I love middle grade and when I look back on my reading, I always have loved middle grade-even before they were called middle grade! They are as popular as ever, so I thought it would be interesting to keep track of what middle grade books I was asked for while working in the library one evening. Here's what I was asked for from tweens:

-Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
-Ivy's Ever After by Dawn Lairamore
-Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
-Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
-The Cupcake Diaries by Coco Simon

And some non-fiction subjects:
-Books on gaming-specifically Minecraft and Halo
-The American Revolution
-Peyton Manning Biography

Friday, November 15, 2013

YA Movie News

-Hunger Games Theme Parks? It's possible. Lionsgate has been approached about the idea. Anyone else think this would be a weird theme park idea? Have these people even read the books??

-From Cynopsis News: Netflix and Disney announced a deal for Marvel to develop four live-action series featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage in association with ABC Television Studios. The agreement calls for a minimum of four 13-ep series to air exclusively on Netflix beginning in 2015, leading up to a miniseries programming event. Disney purchased Marvel in 2009 and already has content from the brand on its own outlets, including  Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.on ABC. 

-Here's a sneak peek at the new USPS Harry Potter stamps.

The Divergent trailer is here! What do you think? Who else is excited??

Thursday, November 14, 2013

For the Good of Mankind Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the BookExperimental incidents such as these paved the way for crucial medical discoveries and lifesaving cures and procedures. But they also violated the rights of their subjects, many of whom did not give their consent to the experiments. The subjects suffered excruciating pain and humiliation. Some even died as a result of the procedures. Even in the twenty-first century—despite laws, regulations, and ethical conventions—the tension between medical experimentation and patient rights continues. 

How do doctors balance the need to test new medicines and procedures with their ethical and moral duty to protect the rights of human subjects? What price has been paid for medical knowledge? Can we learn from the broken oaths of the past? 

Photo Credit: Joel Greenberg

What inspired you to write this book?

The words that first come to mind are anger and sorrow—anger at those in the medical community who humiliated, caused pain, and even death to so many people, and sorrow for the subjects and their families. Before I began my research, I had no idea that so many scientists and doctors experimented freely on marginalized people like orphans, the mentally ill, and prisoners, without their voluntary consent. The sheer numbers of unethical experiments shocked me. Also, as a former Assistant District Attorney, terrible injustices spur me to act. I felt compelled to tell young people about these experiments. The stories of those who suffered needed to be heard.

I also saw the topic as a unique way for young people to learn history. Doctors have always conducted human medical experimentation, from ancient times through the present, so the experiments performed often reflected the ethics and morality of the particular historical period. For example, readers will learn about African American slaves who were bought just for purposes of experimentation, the U.S. government’s secret radiation experiments during the Cold War, the enactment of laws to protect subjects in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, and the ethical concerns surrounding clinical trials, stem cell research and genetic therapies today.  

As in most things in life, medical experimentation is a balance. Doctors continually strive to find new treatments and cures, which cannot occur without experimentation. How can we balance the individual’s right to be free from harm with society’s interest in medical advancement? As Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor and subject of Dr. Joseph Mengele’s twin experiments at Auschwitz wrote, doctors must never forsake humanity in their quest for understanding science.  

Young people today—no matter what career they end up pursuing—will be faced with lots of moral decisions. I hope this book challenges them to debate the issues of their day.

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment below for your chance to win! 
-One entry per person
-US Address only
-13+ up
-Contest ends November 21 

Follow the tour:

Mon, Nov 4
Tues, Nov 5
The Prosen People
Thurs, Nov 7
The Nonfiction Detectives
Fri, Nov 8
Growing with Science
Mon, Nov 11
Ms. Yingling Reads
Tues, Nov 12
Through the Wardrobe
Wed, Nov 13
Kid Lit Frenzy
Thurs, Nov 14
Fri, Nov 15
The Fourth Musketeer

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So You Want to Read Middle Grade: Tess Hilmo Plus Giveaway!

Tess Hilmo is the author of With a Name Like Love. Find her online at http://tesshilmo.com/

The industry calls them “middle grade novels” but I call them “wonderful books you can adore and then pass on to your friend, mother, child, grandmother and teacher”.  My description is probably too long for publishing catalogues though, so I don’t push the issue.  I feel so lucky to be able to write for this audience.  Honestly, young teens are the most fun, most creative, most accepting group of people I have had the privilege of meeting and it is the coolest thing in the world to sit in my pajamas, eat ice cream and write stories for them.  As hard as you try – I bet you couldn’t come up with a better job description than that!
Some of my very favorite Middle Grade novels include…

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  This was one of the earliest novels I remember reading and it started my love affair with historical fiction.  Kit is witty and courageous … and there is a witch that needs to be saved! A timeless novel that still reads like a dream.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt.  I have to admit that I am kind of a Gary-Schmidt-Uber-Fan-Geek.  I get all excited about his books and try to get my adult book club groups to read them and talk about them … they are awesome!   Lizzy Bright was my first “Gary Schmidt Encounter” and it still stands as one of my favorite.  Beautifully written and meaningful with lots of laugh out loud moments too.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  Man, this book is so good. SO GOOD.  Read it!!!

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff.  Patricia Reilly Giff is another of my favorite authors and I love just about everything she has written.  In this novel, Hollis is a spunky ward-of-the-state who goes to a different kind of foster home.  She learns to love and trust and even has to step in and save her new foster mom at one point.  I read this book often as inspiration for my own writing.  The author gets it perfect in so many places.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  Sometimes you need an escape and this novel is the perfect choice for those moments.  We follow Minli on a magical journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and change her family’s fortune.  Enchanting doesn’t even begin to explain how lovely this novel is.

In honor of With a Name Like Love being published in paperback, Ms. Hilmo has graciously offered up one copy to a lucky a reader! Check out my review of With a Name Like Love (which I adored!!) Want to win? Leave a comment below!
(one entry per person, US Address only, 13+)

Monday, November 11, 2013

How I Became a Librarian

Anna at Future Librarian Superhero and Amy at Show Me Librarian both recently posted about their path to librarianship-and invited others to do the same. Here's how I became a librarian.

(The front page of one of my favorite books from childhood)

Although I didn't realize it as a child, I was born to be a librarian. My first word was "book." I had my favorite book, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff, memorized at age two and would "read" it aloud with all the correctly timed page turns. I played library as a child and checked out books to my stuffed animals and imaginary library patrons. Reading Rainbow was my favorite TV Show and I would practice giving my very own book talks in case I ever appeared on the show-"but you don't have to take my word for it!"

I loved reading, I went to the library on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis, but the thought of being a librarian never crossed my mind. In addition to reading, I also loved music and theater and was very involved in the arts all throughout school. At thirteen, I had the chance to be a kid DJ for a kids radio station, Radio Aahs, and my love for radio was born. 

I went to college to study Communications and Radio and my plan was to graduate and become a radio DJ. Then I spent a semester at a special music school on Martha's Vineyard and discovered I loved PR and marketing and I wanted to find a career in music or theater doing promotions. 

Then graduation came and I didn't find a career in any of those fields. Instead I found myself working in customer service at a gourmet food company. After about a year and a half, I wanted a career change, but I didn't know what to look for. I was living in Chicago at the time and there were some publishing companies around as well as the main offices for the American Library Association. My job searches there led me to a website that ALA made called "So You Want To Be a Librarian". I don't know how I came across the website, but I looked at it and read the description of what librarians do and how great a job it was and I thought "that's it! I want to be a librarian!!" I knew that I wanted to work with teens, so the idea of being a teen librarian seemed perfect.

And the rest is history. I moved shortly after that, found a job in a library, and went to grad school for my MLS. When I told my family that I was going to become a librarian, their response was always, "you would be so good at that!" I guess my parents knew long before I did what my perfect career path would be. And I'm so grateful that I've found it because I can't imagine doing any other job.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 8/13/2013

Add to Goodreads 

About the Book: Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It's also the day he is planning on killing his former best friend-and then himself-with his grandfather's pistol. Before he fulfills his plan, Leonard must say goodbye to the four people that matter the most to him: his elderly neighbor, his classmate the violin virtuoso, the homeschooler he has a crush on and his high school holocaust history teacher. As Leonard goes about his day, his plan-and his reasons-slowly uncover.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:  I'm so torn on how I feel about Matthew Quick's books. I think he's a talented writer. I think he comes up with awesome premises for stories. But I always find myself a bit underwhelmed with the final product and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was the same way for me.

It's an incredibly engaging premise and I thought Leonard's voice was distinct and fantastic-it kept me engaged. I listened to this one on audio and it made a great audiobook and narrator Noah Galvin does a good job at making Leonard empathetic and interesting. He brings a nice sarcastic wit to the writing and he fits the audiobook well. I also thought the pacing of the book was well done-it kept me interested and I wanted to keep listening. And I can't deny that Quick's writing is original and creative. I felt for Leonard as his secrets are unveiled and I have to say I didn't see the reveal coming, which made for a great surprise as I was listening.

The adult characters are well drawn. I really loved Leonard's Humphrey Bogart obsessed neighbor and loved the relationship that was drawn between Leonard and the elderly man. It was charming without being overly charming and I found it believable. I also loved his relationship with his history teacher, Herr Silverman. Again, this relationship was well crafted and I loved seeing some positive adult influences in Leonard's life-without them being cheesy. They were authentic and I loved that.

But those was the only relationships I really cared for. While I liked the high school teacher, he seemed a bit over the top and too convenient by the end. Lauren, Leonard's homeschool crush, read more like a stereotypical conservative homeschooler than a real character-she was almost a satire of herself and was so ridiculous. I also didn't see why Leonard would see anything in her. And his violin playing classmate? Honestly, I remember nothing about him so he didn't stand out at all for me.

While my heart went out to Leonard as his secrets were unveiled, but I also found myself bouncing between empathy and annoyance for Leonard-and I'm not really sure why. Leonard was somewhat empathetic-I felt bad for him-but at the same time I found him whiny and selfish. I wanted him to do something-to stand up for himself. And I guess that's what he was trying to do, just in an unconventional way. But I felt like he could have done something sooner. He's such a smart guy but he doesn't do anything! I think this was just more my annoyance as his lack of living up to his potential, which was realistic to his character, but frustrating as a reader. Maybe I just had too much adult mindset as I listened to this one.


Ok, I don't typically write spoilers into my reviews, but this is the part that bugged me the most. When I first encountered the letters from the future, I thought oh cool! What an awesome magical realism twist to this story. I loved this twist and thought it was so creative. But then we find out the letters aren't real and I was so mad at the author for making me believe in magical realism only to have it all be fake. It was such a horrible blow to me as a reader and I was very disappointed. Maybe that's putting too many of my hopes into my reaction. I can't be upset at something the book was not and what I wanted was not what the author wrote. But I felt like there was such an opportunity for something awesome and it fell flat.

Overall, I am impressed with Matthew Quick's writing. I think this will be a book that will divide readers-either they'll like it or not. And it's an engaging story that's well worth reading (or listening to). It just wasn't one of my favorites.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook I downloaded from Audible.com

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So You Want to Read Middle Grade: Caroline Starr Rose

Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She’s taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Caroline’s the author of May B. (2012), Over in the Wetlands, (2015), and Blue Birds (2015). Visit her at her blog and website.

So You Want to Read Middle Grade? Strong Girls Edition

Good for you! In my absolutely accurate and unbiased opinion, middle-grade books are where it’s at. These are the first stories kids truly pick for themselves when branching out as independent readers, the ones they glom onto when leaving behind the picture book stage. Middle-grade books are the ones that show us what the world’s like and where we fit in it.

Here are a handful of girl-centric books that I loved as a kid -- or ones I wish had been around when I was young.

Some of these girls you’ll find in these books are unfiltered, energetic, over the top. What makes them come alive on the page is their warts-and-all realness: they do and say the things we’ve thought of but never dared.

Some of them are contemplative, quiet, more reserved. Their brave moments feel all the more important because of the courage they’re able to muster in a girl-against-the-world sort of way.

All of them feel like personal friends.

The Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lindgren
The Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

Historical Fiction:
Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank
With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman
Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood

Contemporary Fiction:
Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

Saturday, November 2, 2013

YA Movie News

-Mugglenet reports that the USPS Will issue a new Harry Potter forever stamp in November. You can bet all of baby GreenBean's birth announcements will be sporting these!

-Have you seen all the ads for the Capitol Beauty Studio as part of the Catching Fire marketing campaign? It's a cool idea, but I'm not sure I'd actually wear any of the makeup looks. Anyone else?

-If I Stay has cast Mia's dad-Joshua Leonard will be taking the role. I actually am not familiar with either of the actors playing Mia's parents, but oh my goodness, they look the part and just picturing them in the movie breaks my heart. I'm not sure I can watch the film-the book made me sob! The movie has just started filming.

-A director, Henry Selick, has been chosen for the movie adaptation of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Mr. Selick has some experience with book adaptions-he also directed James and the Giant Peach and Coraline.

-Robert Zemeckis is signed on to direct The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I'm sure we can add this one in the "movies that will make me cry" pile.

-For BBC fans, January is going to be a big month! Both Sherlock and Downton Abbey are airing in the US starting in January-Downton Abbey appears first on January 5 and Sherlock is back on January 19. My teens can't wait for Sherlock!

-Even with a poor box office performance and talk that a sequel wouldn't be made, The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes sequel is back on and will begin filming in 2014.

-A Captain Underpants film in underway with a script written and a director attached.

-Sara Shepard is getting another book series adapted by ABC Family. This time it's an adaptation of her new book series, The Perfectionists. 

The Book Thief has a new trailer out:

So does Catching Fire:

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