Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Nebula Award
The nominees for this year's award were announced by The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The winner will be announced May 19, 2012. Here's some of the candidates:

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Akata Witch (Viking) by Nnedi Ikora

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Chime (Dial) by Franny Billingsley
Young Briony, who can see the spirits that haunt the marshes around her town of Swampsea, believes she is responsible for her twin sister's horrible injury. A handsome young man comes to live with her family and exposes their dark secrets to her.

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The Boy at the End of the World (Bloomsbury) by Greg van Eekhout

Spellbinder by Helen Stringer (Viking).

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 Belladonna like other members of her family, is able to see ghosts. Often this causes much embarrassment, but after her parents are killed in a car accident, her gift becomes a blessing.  However, when all ghosts, including her parents, start to disappear, Belladonna, her friend, Steve, and even Elsie, a friendly ghost who haunts Belladona's school, set out on a dangerous quest to discover the truth. In the Land of the Dead, they meet a creepy and evil alchemist who's up to no good. Monsters and magical creatures, quirky characters, powerful amulets, and cryptic clues are all a part of this humorous and spine-tingly adventure. Highly recommended (for grades 5-8). The saga continues in the Midnight Gate.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Flesh & blood so cheap : the Triangle Fire and its legacy by Albert Marrin  (Alfred A. Knopf).

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Just over a hundred years ago, nearly 150 women, mostly poor Italian and Jewish immigrants, were killed in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in NYC. Poor and unsafe working conditions and greedy bosses led to the disaster. This book is not just an account of that event, but also an examination of every day life for poor and immigrant people and the labor reforms--led by immigrant women-- made after the disaster. Filled with period photographs, this is a highly readable, compelling, and ultimately inspirational book. People--even ones with little power-- can make a difference!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CYRM Award


CYRM voting

Voting for the statewide California Young Reader Medal Award program took place over the last 2 weeks in our library. 84 students from Burrow through Junior High participated by reading one or more titles from four catagories. Here's the results from our school (statewide results will be announced May 1 on the CYRM website ):

Picture Book Category:

Henry Cole's On Meadowview Street (Greenwillow), about a young girl who takes action to improve her new neighborhood, won by a nose. Florence Heide's Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) (Schwartz & Wade Books), about a lighter-than-air child who learns how to have fun--and friends, despite being gravity challenged, came in a close second.


Amazingly, despite how much everyone said they loved Lenore Look's Alvin Ho (Schwartz & Wade Books), Danette Haworth's contemporary coming of age story,  Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning (Walker), was the winner.

Middle School
A tie!! Ying Chang Compestine's Revolution is not a Dinner Party (Square Fish), an historical fiction novel set in China during the reign of the Gang of Four, tied with Wendy Mass' Every Soul a Star (Little, Brown), about four unlikely people who meet during an eclipse and end up learning a lot about themselves and life.

Young Adult (YA)

Kristin Cashore's Graceling (Graphia) handily beat Alex Flinn's Beastly (Harper Teen), a contemporary retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, and Gayle Forman's If I Stay (Dutton Books), the powerful drama of the aftermath of an auto accident. Graceling, is an action packed fantasy about a young woman with a very special and dangerous talent (or Grace) who teams up with another equally talented young man to fight against an evil king.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Always a wonderful event! A time to meet established and up and coming  authors, get some great books & meet the people who are passionate about children's literature. I had dinner with Tracy Trivas, who's contemplating a sequel to her novel, Wish Stealers, but is a little busy right now with her new baby, so we'll all have to wait (sigh). I also had a chance to talk with new author Jenn Reese, whose first novel, Above World, combines her interests in martial arts & gaming. During dinner, we heard from Michael Grant (Gone series) who talked about his new novel BZRK. Lisa Loeb sang a few songs from her collection Lisa Loeb's Silly Sing-a-Longs, and--be still oh heart--Cornelia Funke (Inkheart, Dragon Rider), talked about the challenges of translating her novels from German to English and introduced her new novel, Ghost Knight (I have the ARC!). She's offered to come back to visit Sequoyah, so I promised to take her up on that! Lastly, I began a conversation new author Leigh Bardugo (see below) which has continued via email. She would be interested in visiting our school (it will be her first school visit!) early next fall after the publication of her book. Thanks to this event, sponsored by  Southern California Association of Independent Booksellers Association, I walked away with a very large bag of books for our library.  As I get through the titles, I'll post a brief recommendation.

Bardugo, Leigh. Shadow and Bone (Henry Holt), release date June 5, 2012.
If you liked Cashore's Graceling, then this book is for you. A young soldier discovers she has an rare magical power. Once her leaders learn of her power, she is hidden from the country's enemies. As she undergoes intensive training with the Darkling, the leader of all the elite magical people, she begins to understand why her power is important enough for some to die for and who she can really trust. Horrid monsters, powerful magicians, battles against good & evil, treachery, intrigue, and, oh!, romance are magically woven in to an intriguing story steeped in Russian folklore and customs.  Visit the author's fantastic web site for more information (based on Advance Reader Copy).

AND THE WINNERS ARE ...  The ALA Youth Media Awards
In January, the Association of Librarians in Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of its annual awards. I've ordered the titles we don't have and have begun reading them as they come in. Here's some brief recommendations (stay tuned for more!):

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Caldecott Honor
Smith, Lane. Grandpa Green.
A young boy attempts to understand his grandfather's life (" ...he lived a really long time ago") and love of topiary gardens. A brilliant and profound premise and a visual treat.

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Newbery Honor
Lai, Thannhha. Inside Out and Back Again (HarperCollins Children's Books).
Deceptively simple verse relates the poignant story of one young girl's journey from Vietnam to America during the Vietnam war. Recommended for grades 4+

Heart and Soul

Coretta Scott King Book Award and Illustrator Honor Award
Nelson, Kadir. Heart and Soul : the story of America and African Americans.
A sweeping history of major events in American history as witnessed by one African American family. Lushly illustrated with Nelson's luminous paintings and intimately narrated by an anonymous African American woman, who, after witness a century of painful, yet triumphant changes, is able to vote for the first African American president. Recommended for grades 4+

The Scorpio Races

Michael L. Printz Award (Young Adults) Honor book
Stiefvater, Maggie. The Scorpio Races (Scholastic).
Departing (slightly) from her romantic Shiver series, Stiefvater applies her elegant prose in a story drawn from Celtic legends. On a small island near the coast of England,  the caprill ulice, fierce water horses leave the ocean and shelter on the island each summer. Islanders capture and attempt to tame the beautiful but dangerous horses  in order to compete in an annual race. The race is violent and can be deadly. For the first time a young girl, Puck, will compete in the races. She's up against many men more experience than her, including four time winner, Sean. An unlikely friendship develops between the two. A great blend of legend, the wild and unpredictable in nature, adventure, and romance. Recommended for grades 5+