Thursday, February 27, 2014


Massachusetts Parents Fight For School Librarians—And Win.  From SLJ.

Happy 50th birthday, Harriet the Spy.  From PW.

Common Core curriculum now has critics on the left.  From The New York Times.

Philip Pullman is using Twitter to tell stories.  From The Telegraph.

20 Signs you've been reading too much YA.  From BookRiot.

Poetry book removed from Arizona schools.  From SLJ

9 year-old girl reads 364 books in 7 months.  Because she's awesome.  From Express. 

The Borribles, once infamous children's books, reissued for 21st-century readers.  From The Guardian.

Trends in children's and teen library services.  From PW.

Lewis Carroll hated fame.  From The Guardian. 

On loving, and losing, your favorite childhood books.  From BuzzFeed.

2013 Cybils winners.  From SLJ.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols.

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

Biggest Flirts comes out May 20, 2014.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion.

Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can (Goodreads).

The book description makes it seems like there's some kind of supernatural power at work here.  There isn't.  The Kingdom of Little Wounds won a Printz Honor.  It is published by Candlewick, which only publishes YA and children's books.  The Kingdom of Little Wounds is not a YA book.  Not in any way.  I think someone at Candlewick really wanted to publish this, and so it got marketed as YA, when in truth, it is not.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Deception's Princess by Esther Friesner

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Deception's Princess by Esther Friesner.

Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it's her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father's favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle—it's easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom.

Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she's determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court's deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father's friends and enemies close—but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.

Award-winning author Esther Friesner has a remarkable gift for combining exciting myth and richly researched history. This fiery heroine's fight for independence in first-century Ireland is truly worthy of a bard's tale. Hand Deception's Princess to fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Malinda Lo.

Deception's Princess comes out April 22, 2014.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Beyond Magenta spotlights transgender teens.  From PW.

A teacher's argument against textbooks.  From The Atlantic.

NY leaders urge 2 year delay in Common Core testing.  From

YA novel When Mr. Dog Bites causes a stir.  From PW.

2014 spring/summer picture book preview.  From The Huffington Post.

Big trend in publishing - satires of children's board books.  From The Daily News.

Meet the inspiration behind The Fault in Our Stars.  From Yahoo!

Antoine de Saint-Exupery's original watercolor for The Little Prince.  From Brain Pickings.

It's almost time for Divergent.  From PW.

Black history in YA fiction.  From Book Riot.

Kidlit nail art.  From BuzzFeed.

Librarians on the Common Core.  From SLJ.

J.K. Rowling says Hermione shouldn't have ended up with Harry.  Are you trying to start a riot, J.K. Rowling?  From The New York Times.

And to follow that, 9 other things J.K. Rowling got wrong.  From Time Magazine.

Life lessons from children's books.  From The Huffington Post.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

To All the Boys I've Love Before comes out April 22, 2014.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Thug Notes: Classic Literature. Original Gangster.

Award winners roundup from PW and SLJ.

Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are going to be graphic novels!  And Faith Erin Hicks is illustrating Fangirl!  So excited!  From EW.

ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia.  From PW.

Lemony Snicket sponsors prize for Nobel Librarians Faced with Adversity.  From SLJ.

Educators adjusting to the new Common Core Standards.  From Chalkbeat.

Kate DiCamillo talks about her role as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.  From SLJ.

Political rivals find common ground over the Common Core.  From NPR.

Between Shades of Gray will be a movie.  From The Hollywood Reporter.

How doe Divergent stake up against The Hunger Games and Twilight?  From The Wrap.

First look at The Giver.  From The Rope of Silicon.

US students still struggle with reading proficiency.  From SLJ.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus.  Park thinks Eleanor is a freak and Eleanor doesn't think much of him either.  But slowly, over shared comic books and music, they can't be apart from each other.  But not even their relationship can alleviate what's happening in Eleanor's home, and it's not something that Park can help her fix.

The way Eleanor and Park are shown falling in love was great.  It was perfectly captured how it made absolutely no sense at all.  It didn't happen immediately.  But they grew on each other.  Like fungus.  And then they couldn't remember how they could have ever not liked each other, even though they both clearly remember how they didn't.  That sentence didn't really make sense, but I think you know what I mean.

They also didn't see each other as flawless and perfect.  Park has doubts about Eleanor.  He wishes she was friendlier.  Then he feels guilt for wishing she was different.  But he does sometimes.  Eleanor is the same way.  And she never open ups to Park about what is happening in her life, not until the very last minute.

Some spoilers, in the sense that I talk about details from the book.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Delphine and her two sisters, Vonetta and Fern are leaving Brooklyn for California to visit, for the first time, the mother that abandoned them.  It's the summer of 1968, and the girl's mother, Cecile, wants nothing to do with them.  Delphine and her sisters spend their days at a summer camp being run by the Black Panthers.

Delphine has always taken care of her sisters.  She has her father, and her father's mother who lives with them, but she's always been the mother to her little sisters.  She feels more grown up then she really is, like she always has to make careful, thought out decisions.  She can't just be a kid.  Delphine sees things in black and white.  After attending the Black Panther camp, she starts to realize there's a lot of gray.  In the events that are happening around them, and in her mother as well.

Their mother went from being really nasty to sort of being fond of the girls awfully fast.  I mean, Cecile wasn't just like, "This wasn't my idea and I'm not pleased."  She was flat out mean and cruel to them.  Like, not feeding them cruel.  Like telling them she didn't want them then and didn't want them now.  How on Earth did Cecile ever agree they could even stay with her?  Why did the girl's father think this was a good idea?  It seems like a terrible choice!

Delphine and Cecile certainly have a moment when Cecile asks Delphine why she couldn't do the one thing she (Cecile) needed her to do and Delphine finally goes off on her.  She points out the she's 11, for heaven's sake, and she always has to do everything because Cecile wasn't there. That changes their relationship some.   I had been wanting Delphine to tell Cecile off for a while.  That woman was selfish!

We learn more about where Cecile came from, and it was a sad story.  I could certainly empathize why she wouldn't feel connected to her children.  But that's only going to help her kids understand a little.  All they know is that they don't have a mom around.  I'm not sure what a middle grade student's reaction would be to that story.  Would they be able to sympathize with her at all?  Or would they not be able to get it?

The girls all do some growing up over the course of the summer.  Delphine, in particular, learns to be more flexible and take more risks.  It was a good coming of age book set against a historical backdrop.  You certainly get a feel for what it was like in Oakland in 1968, and the discrimination people of color faced.  It also helped to show that while the Black Panthers were a militant group, they also focused on things like education and helping people get food who needed it.
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