Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Give boys screen time and they’ll start to read.  From The Guardian.

In Germany, New Doubts About Digital Learning For Kids.  From Worldcrunch.

Harlin Quist: The coolest publisher of children’s books you never heard of.  From seattlepi.

Are You an Adult Who Reads YA Novels? Congratulations, You Saved Publishing in 2014.  From Flavorwire.

Madeleine L’Engle on Creativity, Hope, Getting Unstuck, and How Studying Science Enriches Art.  From Brain Pickings.

What, no turkey? Strange Christmases in classic children’s books.  From The Irish Times.

Why is Draco so bad? J.K. Rowling explains.  From USA Today.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Plague of Bogles by Catherine Jinks

There have been an unusually high number of child disappearances in particular corner of London, and bogles are to blame.  But bogles don't usually like to live next to each other.  Something strange is happening, and it's up to Birdie, Jem, and Alfred to find out what.

This is the sequel to How to Catch a Bogle, which I really liked.  The sequel wasn't quite as exciting as the first, but still thoroughly enjoyable.  Like the first, it's lightly disturbing and creepy without becoming full-blown horror.  Yes, children get eaten by monstrous creatures that lurk in the dark, but we never actually see that happening.  There are a few close calls, but our heroes never succumb to the bogles.

At the end of the first book, Birdie was taken in to be fostered by Miss Eames and take real music lessons.  Birdie is having a hard time adjusting, and misses her exciting life when she felt like she was doing something useful and important.

Jem wants revenge on Sarah Pickles for betraying him and attempting to feed him to a bogle, but Sarah Pickles is nowhere to be found no matter how hard Jem searches.  Jem becomes Alfred's apprentice as more and more people turn to Alfred for help as children disappear.  Alfred had sworn to not go bogling anymore, since it is so dangerous for the child who is used as bait, but Alfred keeps getting pulled back in by the thought of even more children dying.  Jem wants to be bogler's boy, even though he finds it pretty scary.

As more and more bogles are found in one area of London, Alfred realizes something strange is going on.  Bogles don't like to live too close together.  Something is forcing them all into one spot.  A good follow-up and great for fans of not-to-horrible horror.

A Plague of Bogles comes out January 27, 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Norman Bridwell, author of Clifford the Big Red Dog dies at 86.  From PW.
The great British library betrayal.  From The Independent.

The Future of Privacy.  From PewResearch. 

My top 10 tech trends.  From SLJ.

John Green Celebrates 10 Years of 'Looking for Alaska.'  From PW.

The 15 Most Influential Fictional Characters of 2014.  From Time Magazine.

7 Quotes That Explain Why 'The Giver' Was Such An Important Book To Us When We Were Kids.  From Bustle.

EasyBib Compares Two Years of Information Literacy Data.  From Library Journal.
Another E-book Dip.  From PW.
Four Things My Family Learned From The Boxcar Children Books.  From The Huffington Post.

The New Trailer For “The Little Prince” Is Absolutely Wonderful.  From BuzzFeed.

The Accidental Bestseller.  From PW.

Listen to an exclusive extract from Philip Pullman's new Northern Lights story.  From The Guardian.

The 17 Best YA Book Cover Designs Of 2014.  From BuzzFeed.

O Frabjous Day! Neil Gaiman Recites Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” from Memory.  From Open Culture.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Review.  From SLJ.

How fairytales grew up.  From The Guardian.

What kids want to read: an infographic.  From PW.

'El Deafo': How A Girl Turned Her Disability Into A Superpower.  From NPR.

13 of the Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2015, aka What You Need to Be Reading From January Through March.  From Bustle.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Hold Tight, Don't Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner

Magdalie was living with her aunt and sister-cousin Nadine in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck.  Magdalie's aunt is killed when the house she worked in collapsed.  Magdalie and Nadine are like sisters.  They forget that in actuality they are cousins and that Manman wasn't Magdalie's mother by blood.  This makes all the difference now, because this means that Nadine, who's father is in the United States, can get a visa to go live with him, and Magdalie can't.  Nadine promises to do everything she can to bring Magdalie to the U.S., but years pass, and Magdalie has difficulty letting go of her anger at being left behind.

Nadine leaves to live with her father early on in the book.  She swears she will bring Magdalie to America.  She'll convince her father, who she hardly knows, to get another visa.  At first, Magdalie and Nadine talk often.  Nadine says she's doing her best.  But as time goes on, Nadine calls and texts less and less often.  And when she does, she does not mention bringing Magdalie to live with them.

As long as Magdalie has the hope that Nadine will find a way to bring her to America, she has no reason to try and make things better for herself in Haiti.  What's the point of going back to school?  Or finding a better place to live?  Or making connections with anyone?  She'll be leaving soon.  She tries some desperate schemes to make money to buy a plane ticket, even though she doesn't have a visa and couldn't have gone anyway.  Magdalie falls into an angry depression.

Her life is grim.  She's living in a refugee camp with an uncle she was never close to, but they are each other's only family in the city.  There's little food, Magdalie doesn't have the money to return to school, and there's violence and despair everywhere.  Is there any reason to try and move forward?

Magdalie struggles with that question.  She isn't able to move forward for years after the earthquake and Nadine leaving.  Magdalie grows up a lot during those years, and finds her inner strength, and the strength to let go, move forward, and move on.

The book ends with a hopefully look at the future.  The author envisions Haiti in 2020, clean, safe, rebuilt and beautiful.  Magdalie and Nadine are reunited, and Magdalie is able to understand why Nadine drifted away after leaving.  It is a beautiful picture on Haiti, let's hope it comes to pass.

Hold Right, Don't Let Go comes out on January 6, 2015.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins by Nakaba Suzuki

In Britannia, The Seven Deadly Sins, feared worries, have been exiled.  But when the king's guards, the Holy Knights, imprisoned the king and stage a coup, princess Elizabeth goes off to search for The Seven Deadly Sins, the only ones who could fight the Holy Knights.

Dammit, The Seven Deadly Sins.  I am so disappointed in you.  It all started off so promising.  "This is great," thought I.  A middle grade manga with action and adventure and a cool story.  But no.  No.  It is not to be.

Because of the groping and the breast grabbing and ass touching and obnoxious innuendo turns what would have otherwise been a delightful middle grade read into something I can't justify putting in my library.  And I am highly annoyed.

The first of the Sins Elizabeth comes across is Meliodas, who's apparently Wrath despite the fact he's perpetually cheery.  Elizabeth faints pretty much as soon as she gets in the door of Meliodas' tavern.  She was dressed in armor, so he's surprised to see she's a girl.  He proceeds to confirm the fact she's a girl by sniffing her (the drawing is him sniffing her crotch) and squeezing her breasts.

The first chapter has Meliodas rescuing Elizabeth from various near death experiences.  She keeps getting flung into the air.  Meliodas catches her, and every time he does, we get another breast grabbing picture.

Elizabeth is portrayed as naive and dense.  At no point does she tell him to knock off groping her.  She is just so grateful for his help.  At one point, they're searching for another one of the Sins in a forest.  Elizabeth says, "Something's touching my butt."  "Don't worry.  It's just me" (illustration of him with her hand under her skirt touching her ass)  "Oh, that's a relief.  I was scared for a second there" is her response.  Ew.  Gross.  Making me uncomfortable.  Meliodas has a talking pig, Hawk, who tells Meliodas to "stop," and "this is not the time," and "That shouldn't be a relief!"  I think having a character say those things is suppose to make the fact that those things are happening OK.  But it doesn't.  It doesn't stop it from being icky or from Elizabeth submissively taking it.

And it doesn't make it any better for a middle school librarian looking for manga.  I cannot put this in my library, and that's frustrating, because there's nothing wrong with the story.  Why'd the smarmy groping have to be put in?  It doesn't add anything.  Meliodas isn't even the Sin of lust.  At least then he'd have a reason (although not an excuse) for his actions..  All it accomplishes is limiting who can read this book.

The Seven Deadly Sins is rated T, which is 13+ but I don't think that's appropriate.  I mean, the story is definitely T, but the fondling puts it out of the T range.  Again, it's a shame.
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