Saturday, October 17, 2015


Cut to the Core: How to Renovate Your School's Library.  From PW.

A decade of ‘Twilight’ has left its mark on pop culture.  From The Salt Lake Tribune.

Stephenie Meyer Explains Her Gender-Flipped Twilight.  From Vulture.

Does a Gender-Inverted ‘Twilight’ Prove the Story Isn’t Sexist?  From Flavorwire.

Stephenie Meyer says E.L. James’ ‘Grey’ stopped her from finishing ‘Midnight Sun.’  From Hypable.
Which National Book Award Fiction Finalist is Right for You?  From PW.

Rainbow Rowell's Carry On: meta-fan fiction, or simply a novel? From The Guardian.

 Rick Riordan explains how he translated Norse myths for kids in Magnus Chase.  From Entertainment Weekly.

Finalists for 2015 National Book Award in Young People's Literature Announced.  From PW.

N.J. school district bans John Green's 'Looking for Alaska.'  From

“Life Story,” Virginia Lee Burton’s Picture Book for the Ages.  From The New Yorker.
Global Tour Set for Next Wimpy Kid Book.  From PW.

How Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass changed one girl's life.  From Studio 360.

Taye Diggs on writing Mixed Me! for his son: 'He shouldn't have to explain himself to anyone.'  From Entertainment Weekly.

'Heather Has Two Mommies' Author On The Struggle To Publish Gay Books.  From The Huffington Post.
NYCC 2015: Publishers Chase Growth in Kids', Girls’ Graphic Novels.  From PW.

Into the River book ban lifted.  From

The Hidden Depths of Sandra Boynton’s Board Books.  From The New Yorker.

Katherine Applegate: 'I love middle graders' deep concern for fairness.'  From The New Yorker.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Mary Poppins Treasures on View at the New York Public Library.  From PW.

Caught In The Middle: Librarians On The Debate Over LGBT Children’s Books.  From Kera News.
Writers’ Inspiring New Project Will Send LGBT YA Books to Libraries and Shelters.  From Flavorwire.
Teens have no idea how to react when given a set of encyclopedias.  From Mashable.

John Lewis Shows Comic-Con What A Real-Life Superhero Looks Like.  From The Huffington Post.

School Libraries Are Under Attack.  From New Republic.
Life After No Child Left Behind.  From The Atlantic.

Want boys to read? Tell them books are 'highly inappropriate' says Nick Hornby.  From The Independent. 

Raising Kids Who Love Reading, Devour Books Voraciously, and Practically Beg for a Trip to the Library.  From The Huffington Post. 
How Well Do You Actually Know The Baby-Sitter’s Club Girls?  From BuzzFeed.

Malala Yousafzai Launches the #BooksNotBullets Hashtag.  From GalleyCat.

The shape I’m in: Eoin Colfer, children’s laureate.  From The Irish Examiner.

150 years of Alice in Wonderland - in pictures.  From The Guardian. 

How School Leaders Set the Stage for PBL Success.  From edutopia.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Why I Included Abortion in My YA Novel.  From Cosmopolitan.

ALA 2015: Graphic Novels Mark Diversity, Push Boundaries.  From PW.
Teachers Transform Lockers into Book Spines.  From mental_floss. 

Texas residents demand LGBT children's books be banned from public library.  From Los Angeles Times.
San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Is Comic-Con Too Big for Small Publishers?   From PW.

JK Rowling reveals why the Dursleys dislike Harry Potter so much.  From The Guardian

8 LGBT cartoonists share their reactions to legal same-sex marriage.  From Fusion.

D&Q Marks 25 Years of Great Literary Comics.  From PW.

Beekeepers Team Up With Winnie The Pooh To Save Threatened Bees.  From Tech Times.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play to open in West End in 2016.  From The Guardian.

J.K. Rowling REALLY wants you to know the 'Harry Potter' play isn't a prequel.  From USA Today.

ALA Addresses its Challenged Book List After Questioning by FiveThirtyEight.  From SLJ.

Controversial New Textbooks Go Into Use This Fall In Texas.  From WBUR.

Daniel José Older creates female black heroes to make fantasy more real.  From The Guardian.

'Me And Earl' Director Traces Path From Scorsese's Assistant To Sundance.  From NPR.

What I Learned From Reading Pro-Confederacy Children’s Books.  From Slate.

Sherman Alexie explores new realm with picture book. From Yahoo News.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

la linea by Ann Jaramillo

Miguel's parents left him and his little sister in Mexico while they went to California to start a new life.  That was nine years ago.  Miguel is now 15, and finally, his father has sent for him.  Miguel will make the dangerous journey north to the border.  It would have been hard enough alone, but when Miguel's sister Elena steals away after him, it might be impossible.  Without enough money for two, they'll have to take even more risks in the hopes of reaching la linea.

This is such a slim little book, but so powerful.  Jaramillo captured the fear, the danger, the determination, and the hopelessness of the kids who try to cross the border.  Some to rejoin families, but some are completely alone.

Spoilers ahead.

Friday, July 3, 2015


How the Modern Detective Novel Was Born.  From PW.

Martyn Ford's top 10 fantastical pets in children's literature.  From The Guardian.
Martin Sheen to star in new Anne of Green Gables TV movie.  CBC News.

The teacher who inspired Terry Pratchett.  From The Telegraph.

Pratchett's daughter rules out Discworld follow-ons.  From The Bookseller.

The Dark Side of Nursery Rhymes.  From the BBC.

Elizabeth Banks in Talks to Direct YA Fantasy 'Red Queen'.  From The Hollywood Reporter.

The Worst Canonical Kids’ Books and What to Replace Them With.  From Flavorwire.

32 Enthralling Summer Reading Books For Kids Of All Ages.  From The Huffington Post.

Pooh and friends – Memorable Animals from Literature.  From Seattle Pi.

Transgender Titles for Young Readers.  From PW.

How FANGIRL Restored My Faith in Humanity.  From BookRiot.

‘Brown Girl Dreaming’ author inspires MNPS students.  From Vanderbilt News.

Jesse Andrews Learns on the Fly to Write ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.’  From The New York Times.

“King & King”—and Teacher Who Read It—Under Fire in North Carolina.  From SLJ.

Fathers not reading enough to their children, says Book Trust.  From The Guardian.
Reality Is Overrated: 5 Completely Insane Books You Should Read with Your Kid.  From Brightly.

Mark Haddon - don't use Curious Incident... as an autism "textbook."  From The Telegraph.

What’s on Your Summer Reading List? | Authors and Illustrators Share Their TBR Stacks.  From SLJ.

Thanks To J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore And Gandalf Got Married This Weekend.  From Buzzfeed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

Years ago orphaned Corinna became Corin and started a new life as a Folk Keeper.  A Folk Keeper is important.  It is they who keep the Folk satisfied so they don't cause the crops to spoil and animals to sicken and die.  Everything changes when she is taken to be Folk Keeper at Marblehaugh Park, a manor house by the sea.  By the sea, Corinna is suddenly overwhelmed by powers she didn't know she had, and begins to piece together who she really is.

I loved Chime by Franny Billingsley but hadn't read anything else by her.  The Folk Keeper has some similarities with Chime, in particular the story twists and turns and keeps you guessing and then all comes together wonderfully in the end.  The Folk Keeper wasn't anywhere as confusing as Chime, which I always warn kids that they won't know what's going on for the first half but stick with it because it gets awesome.

Corinna decides to become a boy because she's suffered through life as a servant for others.  As a boy, she can be a Folk Keeper.  She has no training, of course, but she learns by listening and bribing others and becomes quite a good one.  Corinna has constructed for herself a very careful world devoid of emotions or attachments.  If someone does her wrong, she quickly and quietly gets revenge on them.  This is how she has survived alone for many years.  She is cold and vindictive and careful to make sure everyone respects the position she has so carefully built for herself.

Corinna is thrown when Sir Edward and Lady Alicia come asking for her by her true name, as she's gone as Corin for years.  She meets with Lady Alicia's husband, who speaks with her briefly before dying.  He wants to take her into his household.  She refuses, but agrees to come if she can stay Corin and be their Folk Keeper.  So Corinna, still as Corin, travels to the seaside where Marblehaugh Park is.

At Marblehaugh Park Corinna meets Lady Alicia's son, Finian.  Finian is heir to the estate, but all he wants to do is build boats and sail.  Corinna, for all her boasting and confidence in her abilities finds the Folk of Marblehaugh Park are nothing like anything she's experienced before.  They are ravenous and blood thirsty and Corinna is hardly able to hold them off.  In order to arm herself against them, she makes a deal with Finian.  He will tell her secrets of the estate she might be able to use to protect herself against the Folk, and she will give him convictions to be able to stand up to his mother and stay with the sea he loves.

Corinna has more people in her life then she ever had before.  She is actually beginning to care about people, which she doesn't like at all.  She is also experiencing strange things.  Why did she take to sailing so easily?  Why did swimming in the water feel so natural that one night?  What is Sir Edward hiding?  Why did Lady Alicia's husband want her here in the first place?  Who is the Lady Rona?

Just like Chime, everything comes together in the end.  Corinna pieces everything together and then must make a choice: stay with the people she perhaps has grown to love, or return to her true home.

Great middle grade fantasy with mystery, betrayal, and a little bit of romance.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Elli Woollard’s top 10 re-imagined fairytales.  From The Guardian. 

30 LGBTQIA-Positive Children’s Books That’ll Teach Kids How Beautifully Diverse The World Is.  From Bustle.

Movie Alert: 'Paper Towns'.  From PW.

College Declines Student’s Request to “Eradicate” Acclaimed Graphic Novels from Campus.  From Electric Lit.

Why I Teach Diverse Literature.  From The Toast.

Read an excerpt from new Rick Riordan.  From USA Today.

A look at how the "Family Place" library program is transforming libraries.  From PW.

Where are the children's books with girls in trousers? From The Guardian.

Here's the one word John Green regrets using in 'Paper Towns'.  From USA Today.

Teacher who read gay-themed fairy tale in class resigns after protest.  From Los Angeles Times.

Q & A with Kate Beaton.  From PW.

Meet “Bitch Planet,” your new “bold, beautiful, and baaaad” subversive feminist comic obsession.  From Salon.

Can You Guess The Children’s Book From One Sentence?  From BuzzFeed.

An Ode to School Librarians.  From BookRiot.

RJ Palacio: what is kindness?  From The Guardian.

Jules Feiffer Never Loved His Illustrations For 'The Phantom Tollbooth'.  From The Huffington Post.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Landman, Grill Win 2015 Carnegie, Greenaway Medals in U.K.  From PW.

Carnegie winner Landman condemns library closures.  From The Bookseller.

The Case for a Happy Ending.  From PW.

'Looking for Alaska' Taps Rebecca Thomas to Direct.  From The Hollywood Reporter.
Harry Potter Book Night coming back in 2016.  From Entertainment Weekly.

Why this is a golden age for children's literature.  From The Independent.

The making of a graphic novel.  From PW.

JK Rowling reveals why the Dursleys dislike Harry Potter so much.  From The Guardian. 

Books On Buses: New program helps get books to Roanoke children.  From WDBJ7.

Author Brewer Announces Gender Transition.  From PW.

Selfies, sex and body image – the revolution in books for teenage girls.  From The Guardian. 

English Class in Common Core Era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and Court Opinions.  From The New York Times.

Cut to the Core: Education Reform and Libraries.  From PW.
If Hollywood won't feature modern superheroines then it's up to YA fiction.  From The Guardian. 

Four authors give the best responses to their Internet critics.  From Entertainment Weekly.

Not Catching Fire: 21 YA adaptations that failed to launch franchises.  From The AV Club.

The Story Of Nancy Drew, Once Far More Ballsy Than The Girl Sleuth You Know.  From The Huffington Post.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bluffton: My Summer with Buster by Matt Phelan

It's 1908, and not much happens in Muskegon, Michigan.  But all that changes when a troupe of vaudeville performers come to summer not far from Muskegon.  Henry can't believe his eyes.  The elephants, zebras, and the kids who travel with their families!  What a life!  Henry befriends Buster, a kid his age who is part of his family's act.  Henry wants Buster to teach him all his tricks, but all Buster wants is to play baseball and pull some pranks.

Henry is a fictional character, but all the vaudeville people mentioned in the book are real, and they really did summer at Bluffton where Joe Keaton, Buster's father, founded The Actor's Colony.  Buster, of course, is Buster Keaton, famous comedian and film star.  Before he became that famous film star, we learn, he was part of a family act where he was "the human mop."  He got throw around, took lots of falls, and got right back up again.

Henry is jealous of Buster.  Henry thinks his life is boring.  Here he is in this nothing little town, where nothing every happens.  His father owns a store.  He helps his father in his store.  He goes to school.  That's his life.  But Buster!  Buster gets to travel the world!  He can do all sorts of tricks and falls.  He can juggle.  He meets all kind of interesting people.  He's personable and friendly.  Henry wants to be like him.

Buster, we the reader can see, does not think he's quite so lucky.  He wants to spend his summer, the only time he doesn't have to perform, playing baseball.  He doesn't want to teach Henry falls and tricks.  He doesn't want to do them when he doesn't have to.  We can tell Buster wishes he'd had more schooling.  Perhaps more of a "regular" life.  That maybe he doesn't want to be in vaudeville forever, but Henry can't see that.

There's a lovely moment in the book where Henry talks to his father about not wanting to be a store keeper.  His father tells him he never expected him to be.  He wants Henry to do whatever will make him happy.

The art is done in lovely pale water color.  It invokes a feeling of "another time."  There are many wordless panels where everything we need is in a look or gesture.  A beautiful book.  Might take some pushing to get kids to read it.  It might not be one they'll just pick up.  Sell it by talking about the elaborate pranks Henry and Buster pull on the school principal.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial by Darryl Cunningham

Darryl Cunningham debunks a number of prevalent myths, from the moon landing being a hoax to vaccinations causing Autism.  For each myth Cunningham uses science and proven facts to explain why the myths are just that: myths.

I found this to be a very informative book, but it's also a book that's preaching to the choir.  You're not going to pick up this book if you're a person who thinks climate change doesn't exist or that there's no such thing as evolution.  This isn't going to be the book that manages to convince naysayers otherwise, because the naysayers aren't going to pick up a book on exposing the myths of science denial, even if it's in a friendly graphic novel format.

But if you're a person who's interested in where these myths come from, and how they can scientifically be refuted (so you can impress your friends and be prepared for your next cocktail party when someone says, "So what do you think about fracking?") this is the book for you.

What I liked about it was that it stressed critical thinking and the scientific method.  Cunningham was very clear that just because we find something to be true now using the scientific method, doesn't mean that that will always be the case.  Some new piece of information or research might come along that changes things.  Something new might be discovered.  But we must think critically and base our understanding on facts that come about through careful experimentation and observation.  We can't disregard pieces of information because they don't fit with what we personally think, or what we'd like to be true.

Cunningham provided evidence for each issue he was looking at, as well as explaining how the myth originated, and how scientific data and facts can prove the myth inaccurate.

The writing is clear and straightforward, although I found some concepts easier to understand than others.  I still find the concept of fracking confusing.  Also, frack will never not make me think of Battlestar Galactica (the one with the moral dilemmas, not the one with the laser beams).

The book is arranged in strips, with three rows on each page with two panels per row with little variation.  The art is carrtoonish, and is mixed with real photographs and detailed portraits of individuals mentioned.  It made for an interesting mix.

While younger middle school students might have difficult, I think this would be appropriate for 8th grade and up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Helene used to be friends with a group of girls at schools.  But now they all make fun of her, calling her fat.  Helene has no one now.  She finds comfort in reading Jane Eyre.  Jane had no on either, but she was still smart and capable.  The final straw comes when Helene is humiliated in front of everyone on a school trip.  Not even Jane Eyre is enough anymore.

This was lovely.  A heartfelt story about bullying, the feeling of isolation, and the impact a single person can make by reaching out to another.

Helene takes things especially hard because the girls who are now tormenting her were once her friends.  Helene doesn't really know what happened, but now she has no one.  No one will talk to her.  She is a social outcast.  Helene works her way through Jane Eyre, finding a companion in isolation and comfort that things can work out OK, even for someone who is friendless.  Helene begins to despair when things take a bad turn for Jane, and she has to go on a retreat with her whole class.

It's on this retreat that Helene, feeling more alone than ever, sees the fox.  The fox is beautiful and approaches her.  But even this magical moment is ruined and makes her feel like a freak.

I was confused throughout the book by how Helene was draw.  All her ex-friends are calling her fat.  She's sure her mother is ashamed of her.  But she didn't look overweight at all.  It all becomes clear toward the end when Helene goes for her yearly physical and her doctor informs her she's right on track.  Helene insists she's fat.  The doctor informs her she isn't anything of the kind.  The kids at school calling her fat got into her head until Helene truly believed that she was.  And the kids calling her fat were just being cruel.  It was based on nothing.

The illustrations were for the most part in gray and black, reflecting Helene's depression and feelings of isolation.  The only color was when we saw Jane Eyre.  Jane's life had a little color in it, although Jane herself was still all black and white.  For Helene, everything is gray until the fox appears.  The fox is bright with color.  A fleeting brightness in Helene's life.  But then it's gone and everything is black again.

As Helene makes friends with Geraldine, color begins to come into Helene's world.  Not right away.  But after making a friend and realizing she isn't actually overweight, we begin to see a few spots of color.  On sneakers and tee shirts, in the trees, and it ends with Helene walking into a world of color.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


John Green to Wi10 Booksellers: Life Would 'Suck Without You'.  From PW.

"I Am Malala" Wins Grammy For Best Children's Album.  From Forbes.

Pennsylvania: Budget Cuts Take Toll On School Librarians In Philadelphia.  From Library Journal.
My inspiration: Jennifer Niven on Virginia Woolf.  From The Guardian.

Someone Is Writing The Ultimate Generic Dystopian YA Novel On Twitter.  From io9.

Which YA character would be your BFF?  From BuzzFeed.

2015 Battle of the Kids’ Books Battle Plans and Brackets Unveiled.  From SLJ.

Interviews with some of the Battle of the Kid's Book contenders: Candace Fleming, Cece Bell, Gregory Maguire, Jacqueline Woodson.  From SLJ.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

Twig isn't allowed to have friends.  She can't invite any over to her house.  Then they might find out the secret.  A witch placed a curse on Twig's family two hundred years ago.  The curse effects the men of Twig's family.  No one must find out about her brother.  But this summer strange things are happening.  There are rumors of a monster in Twig's town of Sidwell.  A family moves back to town with an ancient connection to Twig's.  The time has come to break the curse.

This was a lovely, strange, little fairy tail.  It's a slim book, and honestly there wasn't a whole lot of character development going on, which added to the fairy tale feel of it.  We don't really get to know any of these people very well.

Twig's older brother, James, is not suppose to leave the house.  No one in town even knows the Twig has a brother.  She isn't allowed to get close to anyone.  Accepting an invitation would eventually mean inviting someone to her home, and that is not allowed.  Twig's mother, a baker, keeps to herself as well, even though she grew up in Sidwell and at one point had many friends.  When Twig's family returned to Sidwell after both children being born and living in New York, they returned after dark and without Twig's father.  Twig doesn't know much about her father.  But she can guess the reason why he left.

Twig's isolated world is shaken when Julie and her family move into the abandoned Mourning Dove Cottage.  Julie's family is warm and welcoming and open, and Julie seems to like Twig right away.  But then Twig's mother forbids her from having any contact with the family.  They are related to Agnes Early, the Witch of Sidwell who had cursed the family two hundred years ago.

For the first time, Twig disobeys her mother.  She and Julie become friends.  James is also disobeying his mother.  He leaves the house at night.  It is during one of these evenings that he is seen by Julia's older sister Agate.  The two fall in love.

It seems that a tragic destiny is going to repeat itself.  But then Twig, Julie, James and Agate decide to try and break the curse.

We really don't know very much about James, and even less about Agate.  Just that she's beautiful and makes her own clothes.  There are a few other characters, mysterious Collie and Dr. Shelton, both who have large impacts but we really don't know much about.  Twig's father appears, with a reason for his long absence which, I just didn't buy.  Maybe he stayed away out of respect for his wife's wishes.  But you'd think he's still want to see his kids.

It's a nice, quick fairy tale.  Romance and drama and friendship and a happy ending.

Nightbird comes out February 26, 2015.

Friday, February 6, 2015


School board will yank abortion mention in biology book.  From USA Today.

Exploring the African Continent in Children’s Books.  From Publishing Perspectives.

Does YA Mean Anything Anymore?: Genre in a Digitized World.  From The Horn Book.

Can Young Adult fiction go too far?  From The Irish Times.

Stanford Libraries unearths the earliest U.S. website.  From Standford News.

Kids Should Feel Free to Read Kids' Books, Because That's What Kids Do.  From Bustle.

Young Adult Fiction Doesn't Need to Be a 'Gateway' to the Classics.  From The Atlantic.

London Hotel Creates 'Harry Potter' Themed Rooms.  From The Hollywood Reporter

The rise of climate fiction: When literature takes on global warming and devastating droughts.  From Salon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Twins Jude and Noah once shared everything.  But when they were 13, a chain of events pushed them apart.  Now at 16, the two hardly speak, each having knowledge of something that would make the puzzle pieces of the last three years fit together.  But each is trapped in their created world of lies and jealously and fear.

I'll Give You the Sun just won the 2015 Printz Award.  So convenient since I'd just read it the week before and it was my favorite YA of the year.  The Printz Award has never gone to my favorite YA of the year, so it was all very exciting.

This was really beautiful.  The framing device worked perfectly, the characters were relatable, and even when they did some pretty terrible, I cared about them and wanted everything to work out in the end.  I actually ruined it for myself by flipping around and reading things out of order to find out what happened.  Don't do that!  It all comes together quite nicely if you let it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 ALA Youth Media Awards

It's that time of year again!  The time of year when I'm usually all cranky and ragey because books won awards I don't agree with.  But not this year!  The patriots won the Super Bowl and it's a snow day and I listened to the awards in my pajamas and nothing made me angry.  Hurray! 

You can see the complete list of all Youth Media Award winners on the ALA website.

This year's Newbery Medal goes to The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.

There were two honor books: El Deafo by Cece Bell and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

I got The Crossover for my library but haven't read it yet.  I was surprised Brown Girl Dreaming didn't win.  It seemed like it was in the bag.  I am delighted about El Deafo getting an hour.  It's a great story and huzzah for graphic novels getting some recognition.

The Caldecott Medal went to The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, illustrated (and written) by Dan Santat.

There were SIX Caldecott Honor books: Nana in the City, illustrated by Lauren Castillo, written by Lauren Castillo; The Noisy Paint Box: The  Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock; Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnet; Viva Frida, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Yuyi Morales; The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant; This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamak.

Yay for This One Summer!  More graphic novels and an amazing book besides.

 The Coretta Scott King (author) Award went to Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson.

There were three Honor Books: Kwame Alexander for The Crossover, Marilyn Nelson for How I Discovered Poetry, illustrated by Hadley Hoope, and Kekla Magoon for How It Went Down.

The Printz Award!  The one that usually makes me feel oh so angry.  But not this year!  This year the Printz Award went to I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.  I just read this one last week, and it was my favorite YA of the year.  Nice job, Printz committee.  Finally picking something not only good, but that kids will actually want to read.

There were four Honor Books: And We Stay, by Jenny Hubbard; The Carnival at Bray, by Jessie Ann Foley; Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith; This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.

This One Summer gets honored for both words and pictures!

Schneider Family Book Awards go to A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrated by Catia Chien for children ages 0 to 10; Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin for middle-school and
the teen award winner is Girls Like Us, by Gail Giles.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award goes to I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín, illustrated by Lee

There was one Honor Book: Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes, by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raúl Colón.

Stonewall Book Award winner is This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman.

There were three Honor Books: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin; I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson; Morris Micklewhite and The Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchio.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


CBC and ECAR Revamp Children's Choice Award.  From PW.

Who Was the Real Lewis Carroll?  From New Republic.

10 Random Facts About Lewis Carroll.  From PW.

Ebooks Will Surge in Classrooms, Study Says.  From SLJ.

Mom: Common Core wants kids to develop reading skills at the same pace. My daughters didn’t.  From The Washington Post.

The 22 Best Feminist Picture Books, Because You're Never Too Old To Be Saved By A Princess.  From Bustle.

Teen opinion: how bleak should dystopian fiction be? From The Guardian.

Children’s book industry discusses diversity charter.  From The Bookseller.

Two Books Challenged Again in Highland Park Schools in Texas.  From SLJ.

The Story Behind Sundance Smash Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.  From Vulture.

Illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham Dies at 94.  From PW.

Critics of 'vulgar' book for young adults want Governor General's award rescinded.  From Ottawa Citizen.

The World's Darkest Children's Book Illustrator Receives Long Overdue Exhibition.  From The Huffington Post.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gabi A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi starts keeping a diary the summer before her senior year of high school.  She writes about her life.  Her best friend Cindy, who finds out she's pregnant, her father and his meth habit, her mother who worries that Gabi's too fat, her friend Sebastian who's just come out, the boys Gabi has crushes on, and the poetry class she is coming to love.

It sounds like every single Issue Storyline is in this book.  And I guess it is.  But it worked, so, so well.  It did not feel like an after school special.  It felt heartbreakingly realistic.  This was Gabi's daily life.  This is what she is surrounded by in her community.

Gabi is hysterical.  She's sassy and vulgar and completely open.  She does not mince words.  She's full of self-doubt like any teenage girl, but also has a wonderful spirit.  She is empowered.  And she only becomes more so. 

Her mother is constantly telling her she's too fat and to lose weight.  No one will ever love her when she's fat.  Gabi thinks about this sometime.  She'd like to lose weight and be skinny and, in her mind (and her mother's), prettier.  But it's also clearly not the most important thing to her.  Gabi thinks on it, certainly, but she does not let it define her, despite her mother.  The other physical aspect Gabi thinks about is her skin color.  She's light skinned, and people sometimes don't know she's Mexican.  Some people think she doesn't look Mexican enough.  It frustrates her and makes her angry.

Gabi has two great friends who are also going through some tough issues.  Cindy is pregnant and is going to keep the baby.  Sebastian has been kicked out of his house after coming out to his parents.  Gabi tries to be a good, supportive friend, even though she doesn't always agree with their actions.

The saddest part of the story, I thought, was Gabi's father.  He's a meth addict, and is constantly disappearing for weeks or months on end.  Gabi is afraid he'll die while he's out on one of his binges and they'll never see him again.  She's so angry with him for doing this to their family, but loves him anyway.  She loves her mother, even though sometimes her mother says some really cruel things to her.  She tries to help her little brother, who acts like he's OK, but is feeling so much it's exploding out of him in destructive ways.

All this serious stuff is going on, but they're all still just teenagers, and Gabi wants to find herself a boyfriend.  She's excited to go out on dates and kiss boys.  She makes lots of mistakes, messes things up, tries to fix things.

A definite bonus to this book was that the diary entries were done in a realistic way.  There was no, "I'm writing this while I'm supposedly in the middle of a big dramatic fight with someone."  All the entries are Gabi writing after the fact, telling what happened and reflecting on how she dealt with things and how she feels now.

Gabi is such a wonderful, relatable, joyful character.  Teens will connect with her and care about her and see aspects of their own lives in her stories.  This is definitely a book for older teens, because language and some graphic content.

Really wonderful.  A must read.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Celebrated Author and Illustrator Bonnie Christensen Dies at 63.  From SLJ.

The Past, Present And Future Of High-Stakes Testing.  From NPR.

Doubleday Revives Peter Spier Classics.  From PW.

Where are all the interracial children’s books?  From The Washington Post.

Authors and teenagers share the books that saved their life.  From The Guardian. 

Peanuts and the Quiet Pain of Childhood: How Charles Schulz Made an Art of Difficult Emotions.  From Brain Pickings.

The Color of Children's Literature.  From American Book Review.

Ranking 2014 Children’s Bestsellers.  From PW.

An Everlasting Story: Natalie Babbitt and Tuck Everlasting’s 40th Anniversary.  From Bookish.

The renaissance of Beatrix Potter's great rival.  From The Telegraph.

OH Department of Education Will Vote to Purge School Librarian Requirement.  From SLJ.

How to get kids to read — let them pick their own damn books.  From Vox.

Hermione Granger and the Goddamn Patriarchy.  From BuzzFeed.

Appoquinimink School District Board Battles Over Permission Slips for YA Reading.  From SLJ.

Image Comics Is Now the #2 Graphic Novel Publisher.  From PW.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Netflix Adapting Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ As Series. From Deadline.

Finding New Voices in Children’s Books in Spanish: Spanish-Language Publishing 2014. From PW.

11 Questions for 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' Author Jeff Kinney. From mental_floss.

Focus to Develop YA Adaptation 'Scorpio Races.' From The Hollywood Reporter.

“The Giving Tree” at Fifty: Sadder Than I Remembered. From The New Yorker.

I love this book!  A Haunting Anniversary: 'Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins' Turns 25. From PW.

Dynamic Librarian Gets Apple ConnectED Grant for West Harlem Middle School. From SLJ.

Sally Gardner explains how her dyslexia didn’t (in the end) get in the way of becoming an award-winning children’s writer. From The Guardian.

Ask the author: Marcus Sedgwick. From The Independent.

Container of Hope: International Book Bank Ships 86,000 Books to Liberia. From SLJ.

The True Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales. From The Huffington Post.

Tasty and bite-sized, short stories thrive in young adult literature. From Allvoices.

‘Freaky Friday’ author Mary Rodgers remembered at memorial service. From NY Daily News.
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