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Bookworm Blurbs

I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack's ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack's country home on the same weekend the "rivals" to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the "Ernests" to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day! (source)

 

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Rainy Day Storytime

Cloudette - Tom Lichtenheld Drip, Drop - Sarah Weeks, Jane Manning Rainy Day! - Patricia Lakin, Scott Nash

Because I've been so busy, I haven't even had time to post my internship updates! I'm really disappointed about that, because it would have been nice to have them all on here to go back and look at, but oh well, at least I can try to be more consistent with them from here on out!

 

Today I covered storytime for my supervisor, who was at a workshop. When she asked me to cover it last week, I decided to do a rainy day theme. It worked out perfectly, because today has been pretty rainy all day! 

 

We started as usual with our "Wiggle Fingers" rhyme. We always start with this rhyme because it adds consistency to storytime if there are a few things that are the same every week, and this rhyme in particular signals to the kids that it's time to settle down and pay attention. Here's how it goes: 

 

Wiggle wiggle fingers
Way up in the sky
Wiggle wiggle fingers

Wave them all bye-bye

Wiggle wiggle fingers

Fold them in a ball

Wiggle wiggle fingers

Do not let them fall. 

 

Then, we read Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld. This is a cute story about a cloud who's too small to do things like cause a big snowstorm or replenish the Mississippi River, but she learns that even little clouds can do important things. Picking this one was kind of a gamble - it is right on target for preschoolers (age 4-5), but even though our storytime is advertised for that age group, we frequently get babies and toddlers, and this story is a bit lengthy for that age group. As it turns out, today was really toddler-heavy, but they did pretty well with it, though I do think most of the story went over their heads. 

 

We then sang and danced to "Bean Bag Rock." This is an action song that we use at every storytime, it's from Georgiana Stewart's Action Songs for Preschoolers and the kids love it. We give them bean bags so they can shake them during the song and it helps them get any jitters out of their system before we move on to the next story. 

 

Next was Drip Drop by Sarah Weeks. This is an easy reader and I usually don't use them during storytime, but it was a really cute story and wasn't too long, so I decided to go for it. The kids loved it! It's about a mouse who has a leaky roof and can't contain all the water. 

 

Next we did a flannel board activity with umbrellas. The kids identified the colors of the umbrellas that I put on the flannel board, and then we talked about what colors their umbrellas at home were. 

 

The last story that we read together was Rainy Day! by Patricia Lakin. It was about 4 alligators who decide they want to go outside even though it's raining, and ended with them reading books at the library, which was perfect! The kids liked this, but it was a bit long for the end of storytime. It gave us a good segue to the end of storytime, but I think it would have been more successful if I'd read it at the beginning, since the kids would've had a longer attention span then. 

 

We ended with "The Wheels on the Bus," and then the kids made an R for Rainy Day craft: 

 

I think the kids had a good time - some got really into decorating their R! One boy made a whole bunch of different colored "umbrellas" around the R and was super proud of himself when he showed them off to me and named each color correctly. Definitely a success! 

Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill

Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre -- his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman's noose, Aleister Crowley's childhood chessboard, etc. -- so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker's sanity. (source)

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Personal update

 

Hi everyone!!! 

 

I just finished my second of three semesters of grad school and so I'm back, at least for a few weeks! Just wanted to give you all a quick update on what's been going on. 

 

This semester has been CRAZY. I took 15 credits so I'd only have to take 9 credits this summer, since the baby is due June 2 (mid-semester), and the less courses I have to take while juggling a newborn the better! Well, I think I managed the 15 credits pretty well, I'll find out grades next week but I think I'll be getting all As which is awesome. But I've been suuuuuper busy, hence the complete lack of any posts at all. I have a few weeks off before my summer semester starts, so I plan to catch up on reading a bit and I'll have a brief return to what used to be normal for me as far as posting goes. This summer I'll be taking History of Children's Literature and Multicultural Library Services online, and Storytelling on campus until I can't anymore and then I'll be taking it online until I'm ready to go back to on campus. I might be crazy for saying this, but I think that after my crazy semester this spring, the summer is actually going to be easy. Yes, I'll be having a baby and that's a huge adjustment, but it'll really only be the last 6-8 weeks that I'll be juggling her and class and, like I said, most of my classes are online, so I really don't think it'll be that bad. I guess I'll find out though! 

 

As for the baby herself, everything is going super well! I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant and my due date is June 2. We can't wait to welcome her into the world! I've had an amazingly smooth pregnancy so far and I'm hoping that will continue to be true in these last few weeks. As I've been telling most people, aside from mild hip discomfort, I really only have to deal with having a big belly that sometimes makes me run into things - otherwise, I don't really feel any different. I've been so blessed; some people have such a hard time while pregnant and it's just been so easy for me. I'm really thankful for my health and the baby's health :) 

 

I hope everything's going well with all of you! I'm looking forward to being back, even if it ends up just being for a few weeks. But I graduate in August, so even if the summer gets so crazy that I can't be on here, I'll be back in full swing after that! 

 

<3 Kara

Reading progress update: I've read 13%.

Luna - Julie Anne Peters

So, I was pretty excited to start this book - a) the cover is gorgeous and b) it's about an M-to-F transgender kid, and after reading Beautiful Music for Ugly Children last year, I was really excited to read another book from a trans teen's perspective. I've had limited interaction with transgender people in real life and BMfUC really helped me open my mind and try to see things from their perspective. I was looking forward to what would hopefully be a similar experience. 

 

First off, this one isn't wow-ing me from the beginning like BMfUC, which is, of course, disappointing, but it just goes to show that, just like other genres, not every LGBTQ book is going to be phenomenal. But what's really irking me is that the main character (who is the younger sister of the transgender character) is very clearly developing a crush on a character who's really rubbing me the wrong way. He's had one interaction with MC, and in an attempt to flirt (I guess?), he makes a "retard" joke. 

 

Whoa. Not cool. 

 

What's even more disappointing is that MC found it hysterical. This portion of the book has been a huge let down for me. I think it's great that the author wanted to write a book about a group of people who are discriminated against and try to open people's minds toward them, but the fact that the funniest thing she could think of for these two characters to bond over is a derogatory joke about another group of people who face discrimination, among many other challenges, is incredibly frustrating for me. I get that a lot of teenagers think that these kinds of jokes are funny, but should authors be reinforcing the idea that that's OK by having "good" characters make those kinds of jokes? I know I'm making a big deal out of this, but it really bothers me. I have to finish the book because it's been assigned for my YA Resources class, but I'm definitely thinking about bringing this up in our class discussion. 

 

What are some of your "turn offs" in literature? What do you consider to be so tasteless that it makes you want to stop reading, or at the very least, makes you less inclined to enjoy a book, even if the story itself isn't bad? 

This is so exciting!

Harper Lee is publishing the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird in July! Sounds like she may not have been heavily involved in the decision to publish, which I really hope is untrue... either way, I can't wait to read it! 

For those of you who are interested...

the ALA has announced its list of 2015 youth media award winners! This includes awards such as the Newbery and Caldecott medals, as well as others. I definitely hope to read these at some point this year! 

Quick update - plus mini reviews!

The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard The Battle of Jericho - Sharon M. Draper Just Listen - Sarah Dessen

Hey everyone! I'm back in the swing of things with grad school, so sadly I haven't had as much time to be on here... bummer! Just wanted to give you a quick update on how things are going with me and post some mini-reviews of the books that I've been reading lately. 

 

The biggest news in my life is that my husband and I found out about a week and a half ago that our baby is going to be a GIRL! We can't wait to meet her - only about 18 weeks left, assuming she arrives on June 2 as planned! 

 

School, again, has me super busy, as I'm taking 15 credits this semester so I'll only have to take 9 in the summer when baby comes. In undergrad, this would have been sooo easy, but in grad school, it's definitely challenging! Thankfully, I'm very organized and as long as I continue to micromanage my schedule, I should come out alright. 

 

And here are the mini-reviews, as promised - all are for books I read for my Resources for Young Adults course: 

 

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen - I read this for an author project that I have to do (also see my review for Just Listen). I selected Sarah Dessen because I'd adored her books in high school and wanted to see how I'd feel now, five years later. Thankfully, she did not disappoint! I really enjoyed reading about Emaline's reactions to all of the changes in her life and I loved the way that this book ended. I think that by the end of the book, Emaline was definitely a stronger, more confident individual who felt more in charge of her destiny, and that's a great way to leave things at the close of a story. 4 out of 5 stars for this one. 

 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard - This book was selected as a part of the theme "Why do we care about what others think about us?" I'd never read PLL before, but I'd been meaning to for a while. And wow, this  like the definition of a guilty pleasure book. Like, I was kind of embarrassed to admit to anyone outside of Library Land that I was reading this... but I secretly kind of loved it! All the drama just sucks the reader right in. I will say that I think that Shepard drew things out a bit more than necessary - I feel like she used a whole book to tell something that could've only taken half of a book, if that makes any sense? But this is definitely a series that I would like to continue, once my schedule goes back to normal. 4 out of 5 stars. 

 

The Battle of Jericho by Sharon Draper - Another book for the theme "Why do we care about what others think about us?" I had actually never heard of this before this past week, so for those of you who haven't read this or heard of it, basically it's about a high school with a social club that on the surface is super philanthropic but behind the scenes has a really horrible hazing culture for new members to endure. As an alumna for a sorority, this was fascinating to read. My sorority, ΣΣΣ, has a very strict anti-hazing policy (thank God!) so I was never hazed. At the time, I have to admit, the policy seemed a bit over the top - we weren't even allowed to do scavenger hunts with our new members because they were deemed "too dangerous." After reading this and seeing how something that seems like a harmless little tradition can get horribly out of hand, I can see why our national headquarters is so cautious! While this book definitely got me thinking, I was kind of bored while reading it. The dialogue didn't feel real to me and I also felt that this one was longer than necessary. But it definitely had a fantastic message to deliver! 3 out of 5 stars. 

 

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen - THIS BOOK. Omg. <3333 Okay, so this was part of my Sarah Dessen Author Project, and it's my first 5 star read of 2015! Which, honestly, isn't super fair because I read this SO MANY TIMES in high school and so I knew going in how much I'd adore it, but still. So many feelings for this book! I think it's just beautifully told, and the characters are wonderful - Owen Armstrong will forever be one of my top literary crushes, because he is just that fantastic, and Annabelle totally deserves his awesomeness. So yeah. This is hardcore chick lit and every time I read it, I turn right back into my swooning sixteen year old self. And that's exactly what should happen. 5 out of 5 stars. 

 

Hope everything's going well with all of you! Let me know if you've read any of these books and, if you have, how you liked them - do you agree with my opinions? Have a great week! 

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass - Meg Medina

One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is. (source)

 

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The Giver

The Giver - Lois Lowry

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. (source)

 

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Shiver

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. (source)

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Time's 100 Best YA Books

Eventually I will read them all... probably not for a long time though! 

For those of you who are Diana Gabaldon fans...

I received a link to this article in my email today from the American Library Association. Hopefully you'll be able to read this without being a member - if not, sorry! But I thought there might be quite a few of you on here who might be interested to read this interview. 

Reading progress update: I've read 78 out of 390 pages.

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

I'm reading this for my Resources for Young Adults course, but it's been recommended to me by quite a few teens at the library where I'm interning. I'm still very much on the fence about it. Nothing has impressed me thus far, but there have been a few things that I'm a bit skeptical of and it's definitely starting to impact my opinion about the book. First of all, the main character, Grace, was attacked by wolves when she was a kid. However, one of the wolves (actually werewolves - not a spoiler; we find out about them pretty early on) - who, by the way, had been on his way to eat her - ended up deciding that eating a kid isn't okay and ends up stopping the rest from continuing to hurt her. So, because this one wolf intervened, the girl is now obsessed with wolves and, when one of her classmates is attacked by them when she's in high school, insists that they're not dangerous, and these attacks are just freak incidents. 

 

Um. What? I'm pretty sure that if I were attacked by wolves, even if they didn't kill me or, apparently, seriously injure me, I'd be TERRIFIED of them from that point on. So, that whole thing doesn't really make sense to me. And, on that note, while the part of the book when MC gets attacked makes it out that she's basically being mauled, she apparently doesn't have any scars or other permanent injuries from the event - or at least, the author doesn't mention any. So that doesn't make sense. 

 

Also, this girl's parents are totally absent and clueless. Now, on one hand, this is a pretty common trope of the YA genre. But this book (so far) takes it to a whole new level. At the part where I've left off, it's 3AM and neither of MC's parents are to be found - they're at an art gallery opening, which, in a small town in Minnesota, I'm fairly certain wouldn't last until 3AM -, and apparently these late nights are a regular occurrence. I realize that for some teens this is a reality, but other circumstances in this girl's life make this seem pretty incongruous. 

 

So, there are definitely some points about this book that I'm questioning, That being said, it is an interesting story so far, and I'm interested in seeing what else happens. But this book has a long way to go if it's going to wow me. 

January Book Display

It's been a while since I've made a post about my internship! Things just got crazy last semester and it kept slipping my mind. I'll try to do better this semester! 

 

Today, one of the things that I did was make a January book display for our young adult literature section. I decided to make the theme "Fight off the winter blues with a good book!" and selected several books with blue covers. 

 

 

What books will you be reading this month to fight off the "winter blues"?

The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate. (source)

 

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