Saturday, April 25, 2015

Into the Dark Series Ambassador Post #3

Get ready for some awesome preview quotes from The Eternity Key!


The book releases on April 28! If you haven't read The Shadow Prince, don't worry! It's out now so check your local library or bookstore (it's out in paperback!)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables by Elise Allen and Daryle Conners PLUS Giveaway


About the Book:
 (from the publisher) Case File: The First Unsittable

 The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task...until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It's a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby's audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?



GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: i was first intrigued by this book when I saw it billed as "Babysitters Club meets Men in Black." Two things I loved as a tween and teen combined? I was sold. And luckily, Gabby Duran lived up to my excitement. 


Gabby is a super babysitter-she's like Kristi, Claudia, Mary Ann, and Stacy combined with a dash of super nanny. So of course she would be awesome at babysitting aliens! And she gets some crazy clients! A kid that can turn into a giant slug? Gabby to the rescue! The story is filled with lots of humor and though there are aliens, it's sci-if light, so u think readers who typically shy away from science fiction would still be interested. Tweens are sure to get a kick out of Gabby's adventures, while feeling grateful about their own babysitting charges! Lots of fun and I'm looking forward to book two! 


Want to win a Gabby Duran prize pack? Thanks to Disney Publishing, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Gabby Duran and the Unsittables, a Gabby Duran tumbler, and a lightup UFO flyer. 

Fill out form below to enter!
-US Address only
-one entry per person
-ages 13+
-contest ends May 2



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post : The Water and the Wild by K. E. Ormsbee PLUS GIVEAWAY



Please welcome K. E. Ormsbee to GreenBeanTeenQueen! K.E. Ormsbee is the author of The Water and the Wild. I asked her to share about libraries and I love the libraries she talks about! She even shared pictures and I want to visit these libraries now!

About K. E. Ormsbee: I was born and raised in the Bluegrass State. Then I went off and lived in places across the pond, like England and Spain, where I pretended I was a French ingĂ©nue. Just kidding! That only happened once. I also lived in some hotter nooks of the USA, like Birmingham, AL and Austin, TX. Now I'm back in Lexington, KY, where there is a Proper Autumn.

In my wild, early years, I taught English as a Foreign Language, interned with a film society, and did a lot of irresponsible road tripping. My crowning achievement is that the back of my head was in an iPhone commercial, and people actually paid me money for it.

Nowadays, I teach piano lessons, play in a band you've never heard of, and run races that I never win. I likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. I still satiate my bone-deep wanderlust whenever I can.



I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say I grew up in the library. Both my parents were educators who read to me constantly and taught me how to read for myself. They created one insatiable bookworm. I munched through books with a voracious appetite, and I looked forward to my weekly visit to the library more than I did trips to the pizzeria. Oh yeah. I was a Supreme Nerd.

Growing up, I was well acquainted with many public library branches in my hometown of Lexington, KY. I knew which branch had the best Middle Grade section (Beaumont), which had the best storyteller (Lansdowne), and which had the coolest CD collection (Central).

On occasion, I even got to visit the behemoth William T. Young Library on the University of Kentucky’s campus. Truth be told, a college library was pretty boring stuff to nine-year-old Kathryn, but I loved skipping through the automated sliding bookshelves, deliciously terrified that the motion sensors might not detect me. To be crushed in the Anthropology section would be a spectacular way to go, reasoned Little Kathryn. I was a pretty morbid kiddo.

I’ve always considered libraries to be magical places, and I’ve discovered some rather spectacular ones in my travels, from London to Prague to Seville to Cambridge. I mean, take a peek at this teeny but cozy library at King’s College, Cambridge:

(Magical, right? Magical.)

It wasn’t until my senior year of college, however, that I discovered the Library of Dreams, the Library to End All Libraries, MY FAVORITE LIBRARY. In 2011, I set foot in the newly opened Library in the Forest in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. And yes, this library is just as cool as it sounds. 



Library in the Forest, which is located on the edge of nine wooded acres, is Alabama’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified facility. My personal favorite feature of the library is the Treehouse Reading Room, a special space where you can read suspended above the forest.


I spent many days studying at Library in the Forest, soaking in the natural light from its giant windows and watching kids explore the surrounding area on class field trips. Whenever I reached my writing limit, I knew I could just rip out my earbuds, swing on my backpack, and step out into the great outdoors for a hike.

But it’s not just Library in the Forest’s location or facilities that make it so cool. It’s the people who tirelessly work to provide the community with great programming and countless opportunities for kids and teens to learn and explore. What makes the library extra special to me is all the time I spent there with friends who loved the winning combo of books, nature, and community-minded programming just as much as I did.

It seems rather fitting, then, that I worked on revisions for The Water and the Wild while at Library in the Forest, since the importance of nature, stories, and friendship are all central to Lottie Fiske’s story. I think all three of those things carry a little bit of magic in them, whether they’re found in the pages of a fantasy book or in a library just outside Birmingham, Alabama.


So! Next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the very special Library in the Forest. I hope you’ll feel the magic, too.

About The Water and the Wild: A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless—until a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the roots to another world in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.


Want to win a copy? Leave a comment below to enter to win a signed copy! 
-One entry per person
-Ages 13+ up
-Contest ends April 30

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Into the Dark Character Profiles

I love knowing how author's see their characters, so these character profiles for Haden and Daphne from Bree Despain's Into the Dark Series are so much fun! I especially love reading who the inspiration was for each character. 


Character Profile: Daphne Raines

Name: Daphne Raines (a.k.a. The Cypher)

Hair color: Golden blonde

Eye color: blue

Height: Just little over 6 feet

Build: Tall and curvy--often described as looking like an amazon.

Favorite food: BBQ bacon cheese burger with avocado and a single onion ring.

Favorite drink: Rootbeer!

Special skills: singing, guitar, floral design, animal charming, can hear special tones and music put off by all living/organic things. Uses these tones and sounds to read people and situations. (May be able to do even more with this ability--like control the elements.)

Weaknesses: Abandonment issues from being raised without her father, has difficulty letting people in, overly focused on her goals, can't drive.  

Life goal: Become a world famous musician on her own merit--not because her father is athe Joe Vince "the God of Rock."  

Character inspirations: Taylor Swift meets Dean Winchester from Supernatural Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

Character Profile: Haden Lord

Name: Haden Lord (a.k.a. Lord Haden, Prince of the Underrealm)

Hair color: Dark brown hair in daylight. Appears midnight black in the dark.

Eyes: Jade green with amber fire rings around his pupils. Sometimes, especially when vexed or otherwise emotional, it looks like he has actual flames dancing in his eyes.

Height: about 6'4"

Build: Big and muscular like a Spartan warrior.

Favorite food: Braised hydra in plum sauce and steamed griffin's milk  . . . or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Favorite drink: Pomegranate nectar--definitely not soda like Daphne, it burns!

Special skills: tracking, hunting, sword fighting, hand-to-hand combat, languages, stealth--to the 
point of being almost invisible in the dark, playing the guitar and singing (he just doesn't know it yet!)

Weaknesses: Impulsive, sometimes selfish, occasionally compassionate of the less fortunate, sentimental about his deceased mother, too human.

Life Goal: To have his honor restored and to reclaim his standing as heir to the throne of the Underrealm. (Or so he thinks.)

Character inspirations: Prince Zuko fromAvatar: The Last Airbender, Sam Winchester from Supernatural, Castiel from Supernatural, Thor and a little bit of Loki.  


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Judge a Book By Its Cover: Baby GreenBean Edition

Guys, blogging with a baby is hard. Really hard. I have so many blog posts written in my head that I just need to sit down and actually take the time to write out, which is so much easier said than done. I don't know what it is about blogging that just seems to take up so much more energy, but man, it drains me. 

But becoming a mom hasn't changed my reading. I still read-A LOT. I listen to books and I read books and there are books all over my house, probably more than usual if you count the amount of board books all over the floor at any given moment. Reading isn't hard, it's just finding the time to write the reviews. Sigh. I'll get there.

The fun thing is I have a great reading buddy. Baby GreenBean loves to read which makes this librarian mama very happy. But what really interests me is his fascination and interest in certain books. He judges my books by their covers on a regular basis and I find it so interesting what books he's drawn to. I've tried to snap pictures when I can, so I thought I'd share some of the books Baby GreenBean has most interested in:



I like to think that he has fantastic taste in books and knew this one was getting award buzz which is why he tried to grab it every time he saw it anywhere in the house. I'm not sure what he found so appealing-maybe the colors were calming? But anywhere the book was, Baby GreenBean was sure to find it!



I think it was the bright colors and smiling face that got his attention. Plus, it's a graphic novel-what's not to love? 





Really, who wouldn't want to read a book about dragons? Baby GreenBean was all about this book and would never let me read it because he wanted it for himself! He loved flipping through the pages of this one and even decided to try napping/reading it at one point. I guess thick books make good pillows. 



 



Ok, I admit, this one might be cheating. He wasn't feeling well this day and snuggling together and reading books for committee prep might have been more my choosing than mine, but he still picked up the book!


Other books he's been interested in, but I didn't get pictures of:


I think it's the bright colors in A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd that he liked a lot. Plus, that ice cream does look really good.


He likes big books! He's been very interested in getting his hands on my ARC of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir lately.


Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan has been re-reading Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and left his large hardcover laying around. Baby GreenBean opened it up and was very intrigued by the maps on the first page.  I think he's going to be a fantasy reader. 




Monday, April 13, 2015

Into the Dark Series by Bree Despain

You might remember hearing about Egmont closing their doors in the US earlier this year. I was so sad to see this publisher say goodbye. I had met wonderful people at Egmont during various ALA conferences and they were always so wonderful. They were also publishing lots of fantastic books, including a series that I had enjoyed recently, Into the Dark by Bree Despain. 

I am a sucker for greek mythology and Into the Dark was a new take on Hades and Persephone, which I was intrigued about. So when Bree Despain put the call out for Into the Dark Ambassadors, I knew I needed to help! I'll be posting some previews, giveaways, and other goodies about the series in anticipation of book two, The Eternity Key, coming later this month. Be sure to check out the first book, The Shadow Prince, if you haven't already! And just to refresh your memory, here's my review of The Shadow Prince and a sneak peak:


GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really love stories based on Greek Mythology, so when I first heard about Into the Dark I was excited but wary. The Persephone myth seems like a popular trend right now in YA and I wasn't sure how yet another offering of the story would measure up. I was not disappointed as Into the Dark has a fresh, unique take. It may be inspired by the myth of Persephone, but the story is original take on the myth of Persephone as a launching point for a new tale about the Underrealm.

At first glance, it might seem like another girl meets boy with supernatural powers romance. But don't let first impressions deceive you. Yes there's romance between Haden and Daphne, but it's not insta-love. It's a relationship that's brewing all throughout the novel as the two spend time together and get to know each other. Haden isn't a brooding, mysterious lead. Instead he's somewhat awkward as he's trying to navigate a human world he doesn't understand. He's from the Underrealm and his lessons about humans are dated at times so his language and manners are a bit stiff as he tries to figure out how to communicate with Daphne. I found this aspect of Haden actually charming and funny at times. Sometimes his mannerisms reminded me of a cross between Sheldon Cooper and Data from Star Trek which is kind of an odd statement about a romantic lead I know but I found it endearing. 

Daphne is a strong character who is independent-and not about to be swept off her feet by a mysterious stranger. Daphne and Haden don't have a "meet cute" moment. In fact Haden messes up their first meeting pretty badly and ends up getting punched in the face-not your typical love at first sight moment which I appreciated. Daphne wants to make her own choices about her future and Haden wants her to as well instead of trying to control her or decide her future for her. And there's no love triangle-yay!!!

The cast of supporting characters is well rounded and not just stock sidekicks and best friends. They are all involved in the future of the Underrealm-even if they don't realize it. Both Daphne and Haden have characters around them but they are all woven into the story together. The story is mainly about Daphne and Haden but there are rich subplots with Daphne's new friend Tobin determined to find his missing sister and Daphne's estranged father wanting to make up for lost time. I really enjoyed the layered plot and how all the stories and characters tied together. I felt it made the novel have more of a mystery feel than just romance. There are lots of twists and while some things were a bit predictable, I was still pleasantly surprised by others. 

This is the first in a series and while there are still many unanswered questions at the end, I didn't feel as though I was led hanging. The book had a good conclusion that left me satisfied while still eager for more. A great start to a new series perfect for fans of mythology.

Full Disclosure: reviewed from egalley from publisher

Friday, April 3, 2015

ALSC Blog: Shaking Up Summer Storytimes

Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about our plans for summer programming and some changes to our summer storytimes.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Author Guest Post by Margi Preus PLUS Giveaway



Photo Credit: Shirleen Hieb Photography

I love to hear what writer's have to say about libraries. I relate so much to what Margi Preus shares about growing up surrounded by stories. May we all be as lucky!


            The stories of writers who as children were non-readers or slow readers or were saved from gangs or a life of crime by fairy godmother-like librarians—these stories are fascinating, and we readers thrive on hearing them.
By comparison, my own story is as dull as dirt. I grew up in a pleasant Minnesota town where people were generally good to each other. We had fine schools and nice teachers. I had a wonderful family and many friends. I was never bullied, nor do I think I was a bully. I was a good student. And I always liked to read. In short: a thoroughly dull and nondramatic life.   
            Except that it wasn’t. My world was populated with trolls and gnomes and golden castles that hung in the air—thanks to the stories my father told. I knew where fairies danced at night and that nissen (little people) were to blame for hiding my mother’s sewing scissors—because she told me that herself. I lived in a storied landscape and a world of stories, not least because my elementary school had a big, vibrant library stuffed full of books, and a librarian who made sure good books, important books, stayed on the shelves—even books that parents objected to, like (believe it or not) Harriet the Spy, the book that made me want to become a writer, or Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, a book that caused me to wander about in a daze for a full week, mind-blown.
            I may not have lived an outwardly exciting life, but through books, I sailed with Jim Hawkins and rafted with Huck Finn, sat under a Spanish cork tree with Ferdinand, wandered the magical realm of Narnia, made way too many donuts with Henry Huggins, and had tea on the ceiling with Mary Poppins.
            I felt every kind of emotion and lived through times both devastating and joyous. I was grumpy with Harriet, knew the comfort of friendship with Mole and Toad and Rat, felt loneliness and privation on the Island of Blue Dolphins, suffered prejudice with Hannah in The Witch of Blackbeard Pond, felt wildly free and independent with Pippi, and wept with Wilbur over the death of our mutual friend, Charlotte.
Like readers before me and after me, I learned to empathize, at least in part—and maybe a big part—because of books. And by books I mean novels. Fiction transported me to many worlds where I made friends and even lost a few, and where I experienced every kind of hardship and sorrow as well as the best kinds of delight, pleasure, and joy. Thanks to stories, my life was never dull, has never been dull, and never will be dull.  And thanks to my elementary school library and librarian, I got a good start down the road to adventure just when it counted the most.




About Enchantment Lake: On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as seventeen-year-old Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hotdish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? 

Would you like to win a *signed copy* of Enchantment Lake
Fill out the form below to enter. 
Contest thanks to University of Minnesota Press!
(open to ages 13+, one entry per person, contest ends April 8)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Library Programs: Fairy Tale Bash

Over Spring Break, we had a full week of programming ranging from storytime to a Lego-Build-Along. Since Ms. A was hosting a Cinderella programming for the tweens the week after Spring Break, I wanted to make sure I had something fairy tale themed for the younger kids who might have wanted to attend the tween program but couldn't because they were too young. I've also been wanting to do a big fairy tale party for a long time, so I thought this would be perfect timing.

I hosted the Fairy Tale Bash on Friday night at 7pm. It was a busy day and the weather was rainy and yucky, so combined with the theme, I thought I'd get a large turnout. Surprisingly, I only ended up with six kids, so I ended up not using the songs I had planned because they were content to read all the books-yay! But even with the low turnout, we still had a blast and I have plenty of stuff to recycle for next time!

I sadly didn't remember to take many pictures until the room was getting taken down. I only have a few to share-sorry!

Here's what I did:

For books, I pulled a variety and since I had a small group, I let the kids choose which books they wanted to read. I used fractured tales and retellings since I wanted something the kids most likely hadn't read before, they entertain the parents as well, and they're fun!

I actually had more books than I needed, but the kids picked everything but The Sunflower Sword to read, so having a small crowd meant for more reading time!

I had planned on singing The Grand Old Duke of York and using the Five Knights in Shining Armor rhyme from Storytime Katie (without the flannel board, because I am not the flannel queen like Katie!) and the song Curtsy Like a Princess from Storytime Katie,  but I ended up forgetting about these when we ended up having an extended storytime and conversation about fairy tales!

After the books, I let the kids loose at all the stations I had planned (which again, was plenty and way more than I really needed!)


-Princess and the Pea-I had the kids hide the pea under a mattress and then try and guess where it was hiding. They had lots of fun hiding the pea from their parents!

-Jack and the Beanstalk Counting Game-I made beanstalks out of paper plates and paper towel tubes. I added a paper castle and some cotton balls on the plates to create a castle in the sky. I got the idea from several things I found on Pintrest, but modeled my beantalks after the ones on Fantastic Fun and Learning. I then put out bowls of beans and some dice and had the kids roll the dice, then place that number of beans on the plate. They quickly learned to set the beans on the plates gently and ended up balancing a bunch of beans on the beanstalk (I think the highest count was around 80!) They had a blast with this one and it was easy to make.

-Three Little Pigs House Building-I used cotton balls as the straw, Popsicle sticks as the sticks, and legos as the bricks. The kids built houses and then tried to blow them down and see which one was the strongest. Another very popular activity!

-Goldilocks and the Three Bears Opposites-I created a chart in Word and printed it out for the kids. It had six boxes and each box contained a word-hot, cold, big, small, hard, soft. I put out various magazines and had the kids find items in the magazines that matched the words to fill in their opposite charts. I also put out crayons in case they wanted to draw their own items in, but I think everyone took the magazine route-cutting and gluing was too much fun.

-Fairy Tale Maps-Since I wasn't sure what age I'd end up with, I wanted something that was easy for the younger kids but that could be more detailed for the older kids. I provided paper and crayons and invited the kids to draw a map of a fairy tale world. They drew maps of how to get through the forest to granny's house and how to help Goldilocks out of the bear's house. It wasn't very popular with the young crowd I had.

-Fairy Tale Matching Game-I printed of pictures of various items and the names of fairy tales and fairy tale characters. I then cut them out and scrambled them up. The kids had to match things like Jack to the Beanstalk, Goldilocks to Porridge, Cinderella to the Glass Slipper, Hansel and Gretel to Candy, Snow White to an Apple, Sleeping Beauty to a Spinning Wheel, Rapunzel to a Tower, Little Red Riding Hood to a Basket. The kids knew most of the matches but they did get stumped on a few. The parents commented on how much they loved this activity because it asked the kids to remember details from the stories and it gave them a chance to talk about the fairy tales and recap the stories with their kids.

-Photo Ops-We have some large painted cardboard face cutouts that we've had forever. One is Little Red Riding Hood, one is Rapunzel, one is Humpty Dumpty and one is Yoda. I used everything except Yoda, although I did debate bringing Yoda out just for fun! Humpty Dumpty is a nursery rhyme, but since I only had princess-types, I wanted something else. I also was lucky enough to borrow these awesome My Little Pony foam noodle horses from another branch:


I used these in the photo op section as well. The best part was when the kids started posing the ponies into the face cutouts and the ponies became Rapunzel! I thought about using the ponies with some sort of jousting something, but I had so much already, I opted not to do that.

At each station I included some basic instructions for each activity as well as some talking points for parents. I saw the parents actually read the suggestions for what to talk about at each station and then talk to the kids, so I think it went over pretty well.

I also had a huge book display of various fairy tale books and many of the books checked out. 

The program was open for grades pre-K-grade 5, but I had mostly pre-K-Kindergarten. 

What I learned:  I will for sure repeat this program because it was so much fun, the activities were easy to put together, and the kids loved it. They stuck around until 8:30 playing with everything and making sure they visited every station. I would change the time though and make it a bit earlier. I think 7 was just too late and the following week we hosted another evening program at 6:30 which had a much larger turnout. I avoided using any specific theme other than fairy tales, but I think catchy names and characters are an initial draw, so maybe I would add something to appeal to that (although I really wanted to not focus on anything Disney!) I would also like to come up with a big dance or movement activity to go along with the fairy tale theme and I would encourage the kids to come in costume as well. Overall it was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again!


 
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