Thursday, October 28, 2010

Page to Screen

More page-to-screen wackiness.

Danny Devito is set to voice the Lorax in a new 3D animated adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story. Betty White and Zac Efron also voice characters....and what's this?! The Office's Ed Helms will voice the Once-ler? I hope, for the sake of all Dr. Seuss fans out there, that this one is better than recent take on Horton Hears a Who. I remember my Kindergarten teacher's father coming into our class to read The Lorax. It was the first time I had heard that particular Dr. Seuss story, and I can still remember where I was sitting, and things I thought about as it was read aloud. Never underestimate a good read-aloud.
For now, I'm going to cross my fingers that my page-to-screen idealism holds. C'mon, Lorax...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

So I'm 0-2 for the being judgy on the last books I've read and then been totally wrong. Isn't it so nice to be wrong? To think something's going to suck and then it doesn't suck at all? Delightful!

Benny Imura lives in a "safe" town. As safe as can be, since First Night, when the dead rose. Benny doesn't really remember a time before the zoms, although he does have a memory of First Night. That was when Benny's brother Tom grabbed him and ran away, leaving their mother to die. Benny resents Tom, and they've never gotten along since. Tom kills zombies for a living, and now that Benny is 15, he needs to find a job too. Tom offers to take Benny on as his apprentice, and eventually Benny agrees. Benny discovers that Tom isn't like the rest of the bounty hunters, and that his perception of the zoms isn't completely true. Benny also realizes that the zoms aren't the only monsters out there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

No connection to Girl, Interrupted.

Griffin was only thinking of how proud his father would be when he stole the fancy Escalade from the mall parking lot. Unfortunately for him, he didn't realize there was someone sleeping in the back. Now Griffin doesn't know what to do. He only meant to take a car, not kidnap a girl. The girl, Cheyenne, turns out not to only have pneumonia, but is blind. Griffin's father plans to get money from Cheyenne's father to give her back safely, but Griffin is beginning to wonder if giving Cheyenne back is part of the plan at all.

So I got all judgy on this early on because the back cover was so melodramatic. "How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare? She's not only sick - she's BLIND!" And then the beginning seemed so far-fetched. When the kid realized there was someone in the back of the car, and that she was blind, wouldn't he just bail? But as it went along I bought in more to the "in over your head" place it was going to and how one bad decision forces a whole bunch of other really bad decisions.

Excellent news!

Oh hurrah! Sticky Washington has regained his rightful skin tone! From 100 Scope Notes.

Less excellent news: New Hampshire Parent Challenges The Hunger Games. From SLJ.

Thoughtful news: Rick Riordan on Four Way to Get Kids with ADHD to Read. How very...reasonable. From The Wall Street Journal.

Humorous news: Lane Smith's Use of the Word "Jackass" Stirs Controversy. Well, maybe not humorous. When I read It's a Book, I loved it and thought it was great and funny, but I also thought, "This isn't really a children's book, even if it is in picture book format." Which I think is fine. But if you decide to you do want to read it with younger kids, I don't think you should change the words. Talk about it or use something else. Also, I think The Higher Power of Lucky comparison is totally off base. Lane Smith used "jackass" for comedic effect, Susan Patron used the anatomically corrected word for a body part and people clutched their pearls and had to carried off to their fainting couches because what if their child asked them what scrotum means?! Not a similar situation at all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spring 2011 Scholastic Librarian Preview

On Tuesday I watched the Spring 2011 Scholastic Librarian Preview webcast. Live! It's OK if you missed it, because you can watch the whole thing (unlive) at Scholastic's web site. The editors of various trade imprints of Scholastic talked about what's going to be coming soon. A few authors spoke as well. While the webcast itself was a little clunky, there are some books I'm going to be keeping a watch for.

As I'd previously written, Dear America is coming out with some new books (as well as reprinting some of the past ones) and one of them is going to be written by Lois Lowry! That's pretty cool. It's called Like the Willow Tree, and takes place in Maine during 1918. It will be about a girl who is not only dealing with WWI, but who also looses her parents to the Spanish flu. It will be available January 1st.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka

Ten short stories geared toward middle school boys from ten fabulous authors such as Adam Rex, Eoin Cofler, Kate DiCamillo and Christopher Paul Curtis. The stories have a range of topics, from aliens to murderous turkeys, to ripping off your own wart with pliers and getting blood poisoning.

This is going to be a series, in a way. There's going to be a Guys Read: Nonfiction, and a Guys Read: Action/Adventure, and things like that. I think this is a great idea. Short stories are an excellent way to get kids (boys or girls) who might not love reading yet to try out different genres and also have a sense of completion. It can be overwhelming looking at a 200 page novel and thinking how long it's going to take to get all the way through it. Short stories are less intimidating, and can be lots of fun. Plus, if they really like one of the stories you can say, "You know, he's written these other books too, want to take a look at them?"

Hearts for Norton Juster

OMG, if I ever met Norton Juster is real life I would probably throw up from excitement. Which would be horribly embarrassing and I would never live it down. I still have the ARC of Alberic the Wise and Other Stories, which comes out November 1st which I must read. And I had the same reaction when I saw it at ALA. "Wait, this is by Norton Juster? THE Norton Juster?"

THE Norton Juster
? from PW.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boston Book Festival: Part One Second

I would like to begin with the fact that BBF starts EARLY! Anyways, Arianna and I went to Cartooning: You can do it too! which was really the perfect way to start the day off. Because it started at 10am, there weren't many people there which was nice (little did we know that this was all going to change during the later forums). Of course I also started the morning by sticking my foot in it, as we wanted to attend a panel that started at 10:30am I let Arianna know that I hoped the panel would start on time. To which a smiling gentleman replied, "Me too!." Wouldn't you know it, the dude was Jarrett Krosoczka? At least I didn't tell him we were friends before we were properly introduced.

Side note: Jarret's daughter is ridiculously adorable. Everyone's little daughter should be forced to have pig-tails that stick straight out of their heads.

Anyways, the panel had Jarrett Krosoczka, Aaron Renier, Jef Czekaj, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Robin Brenner was hosting the panel. After the four artists all got over the giggles that seemed to overcome them, they introduced themselves and did a quick sketch of their well-known characters, except Jeff but he totally made up for it which we'll get into in a little bit. Generally each of them told a little background about themselves and their illustrations and then they were going to collaboratively create a comic. Jarrett talked about how he went back to his old school and realized he still believes that his lunch lady lives at the school and doesn't leave. Aaron made me giggle as he drew Turnip the Elephant and muttered, "This is turning out really good." Jef didn't draw, instead he rapped! It was CRAZY AMAZING! Everyone should read Hip and Hop Don't Stop with his music in the background. Alexis got me to try and copy his illustrations (which I have to admit turned out moderately well), so well done Alexis.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boston Book Festival: The second part first

So Anna and I ended up going to all the same things, so she's going to write about the morning and I'm writing about the afternoon. So after some delightful lunch, the wind blew us back to the Back Bay Convention Center were we attended "From Page to Screen" with Dennis Lehane and Tom Perrotta with host Ty Burr. A.M. Homes was supposed to be there as well, but alas, she was sick. Ty Burr was a good host, he asked leading question and then sat back and let them talk. No interrupting. It started out with playing clips from movies that had been made from Dennis Lehane and Tom Perrotta's work. I am sorry to say I have not seen any of them accept for Election. They look really good though and it made me want to. Has anyone seen Little Children? It came out in 2006 and I don't remember it at all. It looks hysterical.

The first question Ty Burr asked was, "Can a novelist get respect in Hollywood?" Dennis Lehane felt that the writer doesn't have very much power. You only have the power to sell it to whom you want to, so you need to trust them. Tom Perrotta said you have power when you write the book, and that's about it. This of course led into a question of how do you get the people who bought it to respect the work. They both agreed that you have to work all that out before you decide to sell. Choose carefully, and walk away when you need to.

BBF for Kids

As an elementary school librarian, I, of course, found myself drawn the sessions for kids at the second annual Boston Book Festival.

At promptly 10:00AM I arrived at the "Fun with Fancy Nancy" session with Fancy Nancy author, Jane O'Connor, and illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser. Everyone was dressed especially fancy in hot pink feather boas and sparkly rhinestone tiaras. Jane and Robin read Nancy's newest adventure "Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique" and it was a real hit!

Seeing and meeting authors and illustrators (the faces behind the books)is so exciting for me as an adult, I can only imagine how neat the kids think it is to meet a "real live author."

In the afternoon, I attended the Kids' Keynote, where Jeff Kinney was promoting his newest "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book "The Ugly Truth." I was worried about this keynote at first because I was not sure what to expect, but it was actually really interesting. Again, it was great to see the face behind the books, but Jeff Kinney focused much of his talk on how the Diary books came to be, and that was actually quite interesting.

Some fun facts:
**Greg Heffley will be making a debut appearance in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
**Jeff Kinney lives in Natick, MA, and works full time downtown Boston on the online site for kids, Poptropica.
**Originally "Diary" was supposed to be a novel for adults in one volume. Jeff never thought of it as a kids' book. He says he decided to write and draw it like a middle school boy because that is the extent of his artisitic talent. If he couldn't draw better than a middle schooler, then he would write as one!
**Jeff began releasing "Diary" online one page at a time, like a comic strip (which I thought was an interesting idea). It makes me wonder how the story changes for the reader in paginated installments, rather than a whole book at a time.

So, readers look for "The Ugly Truth" on bookshelves if you are just dying to know if Greg and Rowley's friendship can last, and if you can't wait to see the ugliness of puberty rearing its head in Greg Heffley's world.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


So today is the day of the Boston Book Festival. While we're not expecting glorious amounts of ARCs, there are some pretty good speakers and it's free! We'll let you know how it goes. YAY BOOK FESTIVUS!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

32 twelve year olds have been chosen to compete in the Annual Candymakers Contest, and groups of four will train at different candy factories. Miles, Daisy, Philip and Logan are all training at the Life Is Sweet candy factory, which belongs to Logan's father. All four are under considerable pressure to win the contest, and all for very different reasons. First impressions turn out to be deceiving, and much to their surprise, the children must work together to win the contest.

I really, really liked this. At first, there is the inevitable question of, "Is this going to try and be some remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Because what's the point?" And fair question, with the book beginning with children waiting outside the doors of a mysterious candy factor having just won a contest. But luckily similarities end there. I also spent the first chapter or so trying to figure out if we were in a fantasy world or not. It just seemed like such a magical place, but it turned out to take place in the real world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

The Hardscrabble siblings are weird. Otto, the eldest, is a mute and has a way with animals. He also has a tendency to go berserk if someone touches his scarf. Lucia, the middle child, talks enough for her and Otto and enjoys a morbid tale. She's been looking for a lost sultan for the past four years. Max is the youngest. He likes to think deep thoughts and has an excellent sense of direction. Animals do not like Max. Their father is an artist, who goes on long excursions doing portraits of dignitaries. Their mother left them five years ago, no one knows why and the Hardscrabble children have given up hope that she's still alive. They have learned to live with the fact that people whisper about them because they are weird and their mother is gone. They lead relatively normal lives, until their father sends them off to London to stay with their aunt. All of a sudden the Hardscrabbles are on an adventure that will change their entire world.

The Winds of Heaven by Judith Clarke

It's 1952, and Clementine admires her cousin Fan more than anyone else does in the world. Fan is beautiful and free spirited, the complete opposite of Clementine who is cautious and worries about everything. Clementine and Fan don't get to see each other very often though, Clementine lives in the city and Fan lives far, far way in the country. On the first visit Clementine can remember, she realizes while Fan might seem happy and free, her life is far from ideal.

Back at home, Clementine has her own life and problems to deal with, and although she writes to Fan at first, Fan never writes back. Clementine doesn't really hear anything about Fan again until her aunt writes to say that Fan is married, at 15, with a baby on the way.

Library news

This article makes me angry, but it's nice to hear there's a teacher's union standing up for having certified librarians in their schools. Who is against library volunteers?

In other news for things that make me angry/sad, picture books are apparently on the decline because parents want their four year-olds to read chapter books. They're going to miss out on some important developmental markers if you don't read them picture books. Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

Does anyone else think the girl on the cover of this book looks like Kristen Stewart?

Lady Catherine Archer is one of Queen Elizabeth's attendants. She, like everyone else in Elizabeth's court, constantly strives for the Queen's favor. No one can do anything without the Queen's favor, not even fall in love. Catherine becomes fascinated with Walter Ralegh, who is held in very high esteem by the Queen, and she funds his explorations to the New World. When the Queen learns of the letters and poems Ralegh has been sending to Catherine, she has Catherine sent off to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke in the New World while keeping Ralegh close to her at court. Catherine, who now calls herself Cate, is determined to learn to live in the New World, where she experiences freedom for the first time. But life is much harder than she ever could have dreamed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Onion is one of the most hilarious magazines ever. I guess they've branched out to radio, because here's a clip about a young urban man who dies in a library. While part of me can't help but just giggle, the other part is a little sad at the play on old librarian stereotypes. Oh well!

The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson

Jeff, an editor to his very core, is working as an administrative assistant. He isn't loving it. Then he gets a slightly crazy idea; take a road trip cross country and help those in need. In need of editing that is. And then he actually does it. With various friends along the way, especially Benjamin Herson, Jeff tracks down typos and fixes them. Sometimes with permission, sometimes without. Things go along pretty well until the two are accused of vandalizing a sign in a national park. And then the typo hunters enter dark days indeed.

Monday, October 4, 2010

MSLA Conference

Hello all! After a long day in Sturbridge, here's the lowdown of what I saw during the MSLA conference "Working Smarter."

Keynote: Michael Dahl

So after waking up at 5:30 this morning, and an hour and a half commute, Michael Dahl was the perfect way to wake me up. He's from MN, so bonus points there, and is a big supporter of graphic novels, so much like Lane Smith we're big friends. He works for Stonearch Books and has written several mystery books and a hi-lo series called The Library of Doom, which FYI looks fantastic. Most of his talk was about the influence of libraries and librarians on his life. How libraries "found (him), at the same time (he) was looking for it." He talked about how the amazing power of a story led to his future choice of career, and that books should always show that there was thought and effort behind them because kids can tell. Kids can pick up on the effort put in took to make it and it can increase their self-worth, and that librarians can guide them to those books. Dahl says that librarians help equate reading with pleasure, helping students plow through reading when it must be done for assignments.

"Save a librarian, save the world."

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

This past Friday I got to attend the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, which were held at Simmons College. It was delightful, although in all honesty not super exciting. Horn Book is not one of the publications we get at my library, but it's a lovely journal. We got a copy of the latest edition in the folder they gave us, and it happens to have the most adorable cover ever. As my colleague said, "I would wear that on a shirt." Me too.

The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards are a bit different than other awards. First of all, the book does not have to be written or illustrated by an American citizen, although it does have to published in the US. Also, when a book wins, both the author and illustrator (if applicable) gets the award, which I think is lovely and totally makes sense since so often it's the two together that makes the book excellent. There are only three categories, nonfiction, picture book, and fiction/poetry. There are two honor books and one winner in each category.

MSLA 2010

This wandering librarian has made it to Sturbridge, MA for the annual MSLA conference, "Working Smarter.". Today's topics will cover literature and technology as well as a myriad of other subjects. Personally, i am interested in attending the learning.commons panel and the session on grant writing (though they are at the same time) and session on new children's books. So, more to come on those and more . . .

Friday, October 1, 2010

As Banned Books Week Comes to a Close...

Check out this interactive display of the most targeted books of 2009. From

Ban the Banners! The fabulous Jo Knowles has started a meme in honor of Banned Books Week and #speakloudly, which goes a little something like this:

1. Go find your favorite banned book.
2. Take a picture of yourself with said book.
3. Give that book some love by explaining why you think it is an important book.
4. Post it to your blog.
5. Spread the word!

Reposted from Gwenda at Shaken & Stirred
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