Author Archives: Sally Snyder

Friday Reads: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Jade (16) loves collage art and photography. She is a scholarship student at a mostly white prestigious private school and lives in what others consider a questionable area of Portland, Ore. She is invited to join the Woman to Woman program and if she stays with it for her last two years of high school she is guaranteed a college scholarship.

During her junior year Jade makes friends with Sam (Samantha) who rides the same city bus to school. It isn’t long before things begin to chafe her, how her new white friend makes excuses for prejudiced behavior and how she feels sometimes that the school, and even her mentor, Maxine (who is black), thinks she needs saving. She finally works on speaking up for herself. When she hears about a black girl at a pool party who was beaten by police, she has trouble dealing with it, but finally finds a positive way to respond (with others) and make a difference. Similar in some ways to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which I will be reading next.

Piecing Me Together is the winner of the 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award, as well as being named a 2018 Newbery Honor Book.  The Hate U Give received the 2018 William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens, was named a  2018 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, and a 2018 Michael L. Printz Honor book.

Watson, Renée. Piecing Me Together. Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2017. Print.

 

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Youth Awards Announced at ALA Midwinter Meeting

Here is a quick look at some of the book awards announced today in Denver.  For a PDF of the complete list of winners and Honor Books click here.

John Newbery Medal goes to Hello, Universe, written by Erin Entrada Kelly. Three Honor Books were also named.

Randolph Caldecott Medal was awarded to Wolf in the Snow, illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell. Four Honor Books were named.

Coretta Scott King Author Award was given to Piecing Me Together, written by Renée Watson, and three Honor Books were named.

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award recipient is Ekua Holmes for Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, two Honor Books were named.

Michael L. Printz Award recipient is We Are Okay, written by Nina LaCour and four Honor Books were noted.

I hope you get a chance to read one or two award-winning titles of your choice.  It is a great day when the country’s attention is on reading and books.

 

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What’s Sally Reading?

Jason Reynolds on Encouraging Reading

One librarian’s blog, Alicia Abdul, and her list of “Six Sensational YA + MG” titles for 2017. Since seeing this I have checked one title out of the library, and am pleased that two of her six were on Jill Annis and my Teen list for 2017.

But I really hope you will take the 3+ minutes to hear what Jason Reynolds has to say about reluctant readers. Makes good sense. It is included on this page, right under his title Long Way Down.

 

I was tempted to include my review of Long Way Down but thought that might be redundant.  Instead here is my review of brave by Svetlana Chmakova.  A full-color graphic novel: Jensen, is just starting middle school and still trying to figure it out. He knows to avoid Foster and Yanic – they are never nice. He sees the school as a video game, all he needs to do is survive to the end of the day. Math is hard, but he lives for art club after school. He becomes involved with the newspaper crew as an on-call helper, and then as a possible subject for their bullying article. He isn’t certain he is being bullied, aren’t his “friends” just joking with him? He slowly finds his way and eventually speaks up on his own behalf.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal’s Best Books 2017

Once again it is time for journals to print (or post) their choices for “Best Books of…” lists. School Library Journal recently posted their choices and the lists can be found here.

A total of 71 titles have been honored this year, divided into the following categories: Picture Books (14 titles), Chapter Books (1 title), Middle Grade (13 titles), Young Adult (18 titles) and Nonfiction (25 titles). I enjoy learning about excellent titles I did not encounter earlier, and also finding some agreement with some I have read and put on my lists. Now here is the chance for you to do the same.

On the main page, scroll down to find a form to fill out in order to download, at no charge, a printable PDF version of the full list.  There is also an “Other Bests” link on the right side of the screen which contains a print list of six additional categories, such as “Top 10 Graphic Novels,” “Top 10 Audiobooks,” and “Top 10 Apps.”  I hope you can find some time to explore these pages.  For the Best Books of 2017, once you click on one of the categories you will see a slide show of the titles.

One of the selected picture books from 2017 is The Three Billy Goats Gruff, adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, gives readers another wonderful retelling of a popular folktale with outstanding artwork.  The author notes at the back of the book that this story gave him trouble because in many versions the Troll does not have the opportunity to learn his lesson.  Mr. Pinkney found a satisfying way for this to happen in his version.  I will say it again: It is great that Pinkney is retelling both folktales and fables so children today can continue to hear them.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Youth Grants for Excellence Awarded

Nineteen public libraries were awarded Youth Grants for Excellence on December 1, 2017, for a total of $25,000. The recipients are:

Atkinson Public Library, $750 – for a Musical Lego workshop

Bennington Public Library, $2,132 – “Summer of STEAM”

Blue Hill Public Library, $1,620 – LEGO Club

Broadwater Public Library, $250 – to restart the Summer Reading Program

Central City Public Library, $1,600 – to reinforce STEM concepts in music and celebrate reading

Hruska Memorial Public Library, David City, $740 – to hold afterschool programs: a K-2 Makers Club and a 3-7 Makers Club

Keene Memorial Library, Fremont, $750 – to establish a Teen/YA Advisory Board and develop programming for teens

Genoa Public Library, $450 – to start an Adventure Club for children ages 9-14

Grand Island Public Library, $1,000 – to draw teens to the library

La Vista Public Library, $995  – “Movers and Shakers”  to provide age appropriate musical instruments and manipulatives for programming for ages birth to five

Lincoln City Libraries, $2,638 – encouraging youth to become Makers through Makerspace Kits and programming

Morrill Public Library, $1,000 – Afterschool programs

Norfolk Public Library, $1,000 – “Book-to-Film Club”

Plattsmouth Public Library, $2,000 – “IDEA Boxes” relating to STEAM subjects

Baright Public Library, Ralston, $550 – “Monthly Mini Makers”

Ravenna Public Library, $3,000 – “Baby and Me: Bringing in the Children’s Museum Feel”

South Sioux City Public Library, $1,250 – “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten”

Dvoracek Memorial Library, Wilber, $1,000 – programs to celebrate books and reading

Kilgore Memorial Library, York, $2,250 – “Starlings for York” for encouraging parents to read to and talk with their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers

Congratulations! We look forward to hearing more about your projects and how they are helping your communities.

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Friday Reads: Solo by Kwame Alexander

Written in free verse, we meet Blade, who is almost 18, and the son of a famous rock star. His father is now more famous for his crazy acts while drunk or on drugs. His older sister is still supportive of their father, but not Blade, not anymore. On the day of his high school graduation, when he was ready to address the students and parents, his father created a spectacle by running a motorcycle into the stand. That evening his sister reveals that Blade was adopted.

And in no time he is on his way to Ghana, to find his birth mother.  She is from the U.S. but is working in Ghana, to make a difference.  Blade has much to sort through— the death of his adoptive mother when he was about 10, his father’s behaviors, his girlfriend cheating on him, meeting his birth mother, the people he has met in Ghana, and his nightmares that won’t let go.  A look at the cathartic moments in the main character’s life, and what it reveals of his true self.  Amazing.

Alexander is one of my favorite authors, and this title is one more of his I greatly enjoyed.

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Youth Grants for Excellence Applications due 10/4/17

The Nebraska Library Commission announces that grants are available to accredited public libraries and state-run institutional libraries for special projects in the area of children’s and young adult services. These grants are awarded to encourage innovation and expansion of public library services for youth and their parents or caregivers. Applications will be accepted for projects in an area that will benefit children and/or teens and which you see as a need in your community; for examples see the “Introduction” link below.

The minimum amount that will be awarded per grant is $250 and the grants require a 25% match of the requested amount. This means the minimum total project cost will be $313, with your library providing at least $63 ($25 cash and $38 in-kind, remember to round up to full dollars) for the 25% match required.  Use the Project Budget Form at the end of the application form to estimate the amount you will need and to itemize specific expenses. You are advised to be as precise and detailed as possible.

There are two different application forms. For projects requesting $250 – $1,000 in grant funds use the abbreviated, or short form. Applications requesting more than $1,000 must use the long form. Please be sure to use the correct form for your project. Please go to the “Introduction” page for links to the forms (at the bottom of the page).

Please note: AWE work stations, or similar stations of other companies, are no longer eligible for a youth grant.

You may also be interested in viewing the NCompass Live session from 8/20/14 titled “What You Need to Know to Apply for a Youth Grant.”

You are welcome to call or email Sally Snyder with questions or to ask for more information.

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Friday Reads: Restart by Gordon Korman

Chase (8th grade) wakes up in the hospital and remembers nothing of who he is, or his family—the group of people standing around his bed looking at him. He remembers how to walk, talk, eat, read, all the daily things we all do, but nothing personal about himself. His school is unfamiliar, but as he walks down the hall he notices students cringing away from him. Slowly he begins to discover that he has been the reigning bully, and not only that, he has encouraged his former two best friends to do it too. As the 8th grade team quarterback, he ruled the school. But now he is repulsed by who he was. How did he get that way when now his impulses are to be friendly and helpful? And what should he do now?

This is a fascinating look at human behavior, our inner selves vs. our outer selves, and how we may end up so far from where we were meant to go.  The author is known for his humorous books, but this one takes a more serious, and intriguing path.

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Friday Reads: Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

Garvey is not interested in sports at all.  He is interested in reading, science, and jokes, which his father does not value. His dad keeps trying to pique his interest in becoming an athlete and is not able to drop the topic. Garvey knows he is not an athlete but is not certain who he is. He faces bullies at school due to his weight and awkwardness. Finally Garvey’s best and only friend since first grade guides him to Chorus at school, where he finds his place and a second friend. His wonderful voice is valued and his confidence grows.  Now his dad has something in common with him at long last, since many years ago he sang in a band.

This short, small book offers a heartfelt story about finding one’s place and uses a poetry form that may be new to many.  It is told in tanka poetry which involves five lines with a particular number of syllables for each, and is explained at the back of the book.  Spend a little time with Garvey and friends Joe and Manny to relive what it is like to be an adolescent again.  You will leave content.

Grimes, Nikki (2016). Garvey’s Choice. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.

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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal’s 9th “Battle of the Kids Books”

This is the ninth year that School Library Journal has invited well-known authors of children and/or teen books to read and judge two titles placed before them. This elimination contest is designed like a “March Madness” for books. Only one book moves ahead to the next round, and favorites could fall.   Read about this year’s event on the School Library Journal blog.

The sixteen titles for the elimination rounds were announced on January 18.  For the first time the contest includes four picture books, so the phrasing “Battle of the Kids Books” is more appropriate this year.  The titles are:

ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit

FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie

FREEDOM OVER ME by Ashley Bryan

GHOST by Jason Reynolds

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge

MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich  — (look, Makoons is here too and I didn’t know it before last Friday)

MARCH BOOK THREE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

THE PASSION OF DOLSSA by Julie Berry

SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner and Gareth Hinds

SOME WRITER! by Melissa Sweet

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon

THUNDERBOY JR. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales

WET CEMENT by Bob Raczka

WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin

The judges for the contest will be named on February 6 and the competition begins on March 13. The victor will be announced on March 31. It is enlightening to read the judges comparisons of very different genres and his or her reasoning for naming the winner of that round. Each year one of my favorites bites the dust. But, last year the final judge, Ann M. Martin, selected The Marvels by Brian Selznick as the winner, a favorite of mine I was hopeful could go the distance.

This is an event you could design and hold in your library at any time of year, for example have kids or teens each read and present their book as if in a debate.  Then the judge (choose them wisely) will make the decision between the two titles.  Or you can encourage your students or patrons to be involved in this year’s event by writing a promotional piece for a favorite contender.

One of the contenders this year is Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka.  It contains a collection of 21 clever and inspiring poems.  Concrete poems are designed so the lines of poetry are laid out to look like the topic of the poem.  My favorite in this collection is entitled “PoeTRY” and says it all in five lines, although this one is a less concrete poem than those in the rest the book.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Youth Media Awards Announced at ALA Midwinter

Monday, January 23, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2017 Youth Media Awards. The winner of the John Newbery Medal is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Three Honor books were named:

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

The winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal is Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe. Four Honor books were named:

Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol

Freedom in Congo Square illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford

Du Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis

They All Saw a Cat illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel

For a complete list of the winners and honor books visit the ALA press release.  I hope you already have a few of the named titles in your library collection.

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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal’s Best Books 2016

Every year the editors of School Library Journal announce their choices of the best books published that year.  A total of 66 titles have been honored this year and are listed on this page.  Divided into five lists the categories are: Picture Books (17 titles), Chapter Books (2 titles), Middle Grade (14 titles), Young Adult (15 titles), Nonfiction (18 titles).

Once you click on one of the categories you will see a slide show of the titles. Scroll down to find a form to fill out in order to download a printable PDF version of the full list. There is also an “Other Bests” link on the right side of the screen which contains a print list of eight additional categories, such as “Top 10 Graphic Novels,” “Top 10 Latinx” (a new gender-neutral term to include Latina and Latino) titles, and “Top 10 Apps.” I hope you can find some time to explore these pages.

One of the titles included on the School Library Journal’s “Best Books 2016,” Middle Grade list is Makoons by Louise Erdrich (The Birchbark House series, Bk 5).  Continuing the story of an Ojibwe family, this title focuses on Makoons, twin brother of Chickadee, both of whom are determined to succeed as buffalo hunters. Makoons has a vision that shakes him to his core.  Will his family be able to handle the coming challenge?  This series has been widely praised and has appeared on numerous “best” lists. Makoons is intended for grades 4-6.

The first book in the series, The Birchbark House, was published in May of 1999.  Following it are: The Game of Silence (Bk 2) which received the Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Award, The Porcupine Year (Bk 3), Chickadee (Bk 4) which also received the Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Award, and, of course, Makoons.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers. After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Friday Reads: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

Perry, age 11, was born and has lived all his life with his mother in the fictional Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in Surprise, Nebraska, thanks to the current warden pretending he isn’t there. Then the new district attorney, Tom VanLeer, living in a nearby town, discovers his existence and “rescues” him from his mother and friends by bringing him home and becoming his foster family with his wife and his step-daughter, Zoey.  Zoey is Perry’s best friend at school.

For his class project, Perry decides to write the story of several inmates, who are his friends, and who agree to be interviewed. Regret for what they, including Perry’s mother Jessica, had done and how they have changed and are working toward parole, staying positive as much as possible, all send a different message than one might expect from prisoners. There are a few negative people incarcerated there, and Perry keeps his distance from them.

District Attorney Tom VanLeer is certain his approach is the right one, even as he delays Jessica’s parole hearing, believing she is guilty of making her son suffer in prison. Zoey finds some of her stepfather’s viewpoints and habits condescending and irritating. She and Perry also find their new situation, as foster brother and sister, rather problematic.

Perry is a wonderful character, with a positive viewpoint and an understandable confusion about things he has never encountered before, such as how to make the bathtub become a shower. His upbringing in the correctional facility has prepared him to give others a chance, and to challenge Tom VanLeer on his misconceptions. Other characters are well-developed and offer additional viewpoints as to how things can go terribly wrong and hopefully be forgiven. A terrific choice for grades 5-8 as well as adults.

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What’s Sally Reading?


Some Favorite Web Sites Shared at the Youth Services Retreat at Camp Carol Joy Holling.

One of the things participants could bring to the retreat in August, if they chose, was a handout of some web sites they found useful.  I was one of a number of people who shared favorite sites and it seems reasonable to share them again here with all of you.  These have all been mentioned here before so I have included the date of the original posting.

Pronunciation:  I would like to mention the place to go to learn how to pronounce an author’s name.  The website (today) notes it has 2,207 author names included. (from 6/4/10)

New Teen Books Coming Out:  Two individuals, librarian Keri Adams and web designer Stefan Hayden, created a convenient way to keep track of upcoming book releases of young adult novels.  They also decided to share it with everyone!  You can go to their web page and find out what’s coming!  The “Upcoming” page lists titles for the current month.  Click “more” at the bottom to go on to the next month(s).  (from 5/14/10)

Refresher for Series Reading:  The Recaptains website reminds you what happened in a book to get you ready to read the next book in a series. It also contains Goodreads summaries and with a click on “read more” you can access more detailed information.  It also includes an “In Short” paragraph, a “What Went Down” bulleted list of actions that occurred in the book, and “How Did It End.”  In 2015 I read through the information on The Diviners by Libba Bray since I planned to read the sequel Lair of Dreams that weekend.  It did a great job of reminding me who the characters are and what events happened in the first book.  It doesn’t cover everything, I just searched for Terry Pratchett and he is not on their author list, still I’m going to be using this site often.  (from 8/25/15)

Spoilers for Award-Winning Books:    One of the founders of the page noted in an email to YALSA-BK that she learned last fall that just in the YA genre alone, 5,000 books are published each year, and no one can read them all before the next year’s titles begin to pile up.  So here is the solution, visit “Spoilers, Sweetie!” a new blog that spills the beans on award-winning titles for children and teens that you may not have time to read.   (from 8/24/16)

I hope you find some of these sites helpful to you.  And if you attended the Youth Services Retreat, I hope you do not mind that I have given the same information here.

winick002HiLo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick is a full-color graphic novel and Book #1 in the HiLo (pronounced High-Low) series.  D.J. Lim believes he is only good at one thing, being friends with his next-door neighbor, Gina.  Then she moved away.  Three years later, (he is now 10) D. J. sees HiLo fall to earth and befriends him.  HiLo has problems with his memory so D.J. helps him with things like he needs to wear more than his silver underwear.  And now, Gina has moved back!  Soon the three of them are fighting monsters from outer space and it turns out HiLo is a robot.  Friendship and saving the world!   Plenty of action, heroism and humor great for grades 2-5.  Oh, and a cliff-hanger ending!

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Friday Reads: Ghost by Jason Reynolds

reynolds010Castle Crenshaw, who tells everyone “call me Ghost,” is in 7th grade.  He has been fast ever since he and his mom ran away from his father who was threatening them with a gun. Ghost is often on the edge of trouble, but really doesn’t want any, and doesn’t want to upset his mom. One day he watches a track team practicing, and stands up and races the runner he thinks is too smug. Coach offers him a chance to tryout and be on the team, but he has to keep up his schoolwork and stay out of trouble. He tries, but it is hard for him. Coach knows where Ghost is coming from and has been coaching for years to help kids stay out of trouble.

Ghost is an appealing character and readers will understand why he gets into trouble and how he sometimes reacts the wrong way. Coach is understanding, but also tough and Ghost knows he is serious about his conditions to stay on the team.

This title is Book 1 in a proposed four book series titled “Track” and I am looking forward to the next book.

Reynolds, Jason. Ghost. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016.

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Youth Grants for Excellence Applications due 10/5/16

The Nebraska Library Commission announces that grants are available to accredited public libraries and state-run institutional libraries for special projects in the area of children’s and young adult services. These grants are awarded to encourage innovation and expansion of public library services for youth and their parents or caregivers. Applications will be accepted for projects in an area that will benefit children and/or teens and which you see as a need in your community; for examples see the “Introduction” link below.

The minimum amount that will be awarded per grant is $250. The grants require a 25% match of the requested amount. The $250 minimum grant amount plus the required 25% local match ($63) combine for $313 as the lowest total project amount for a Youth Grant for Excellence. Use the Project Budget Form at the end of the application form to estimate the amount you will need and to itemize specific expenses. You are advised to be as precise and detailed as possible.

There are two different application forms. For projects requesting $250 – $1,000 in grant funds use the abbreviated, or short form. Applications requesting more than $1,000 must use the long form. Please be sure to use the correct form for your project. Please go to the “Introduction” page for links to the forms (at the bottom of the page).

Please note: AWE work stations, or similar stations of other companies, are no longer eligible for a youth grant.

You may also be interested in viewing the NCompass Live session from 8/20/14 titled “What You Need to Know to Apply for a Youth Grant.”

You are welcome to call or email Sally Snyder with questions or to ask for more information.

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What’s Sally Reading?

Spoilers for Award-Winning Books

One of the founders of the 5 Minute Librarian blog page noted in an email to YALSA-BK that she learned last fall that just in the YA genre alone, 5,000 books are published each year, and no one can read them all before the next year’s titles begin to pile up.  So here is the solution, visit Spoilers, Sweetie!  a new blog that spills the beans on award-winning titles for children and teens that you may not have time to read.

I appreciated that when you click on a category, say YALSA Nonfiction Award 2016, the title and author come up accompanied by a gray box.  To read the spoiler just click on the box.  This way you do not accidently uncover a spoiler you didn’t want to see.  Readers of the blog are also invited to join the team and help provide spoilers for others.

Another portion of this web site has a chronological listing of book awards and when they are announced.  Also handy information.

Stower025Troll and the Oliver by Adam Stower is a picture book for preschool through first grade.  Every day, usually around noon, Troll tried to catch Oliver and eat him!  Every day Oliver was too fast and agile and he always got away.  One day Troll did not jump out to try to catch him.  Oliver was very cautious on the way home.  He decided Troll had given up and began to mix ingredients for cake.  Then Troll jumped out of the cupboard and gulped down Oliver!  He tasted terrible so Troll spit him out again.  Luckily the timer dinged and out came cake!  As it turns out trolls love cake so Oliver & Troll share the cake with each other.  Clever—the world is a better place with trolls full of cake!

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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What’s Sally Reading?

Find a book, hide a book…play Book Scavenger!

Looking for a new activity for your children and teen library users? Try finding and/or hiding a book! If you are familiar with the children’s title Book Scavenger, then you may be excited to know that the fictional game is now a reality. It is similar to geo-caching, except now people are hiding books in public places and leaving written clues rather than using GPS coordinates. And, once you find the book you are encouraged to read it, then hide it somewhere else and leave clues on the web site.  What a fun way to share books you love.

If you are hiding a book for its first time, they suggest printing out a game plate to identify it as part of the Book Scavenger game.  The plate is found on this page, just scroll down a bit.

Wonder where books are currently hidden? Go here.  If you go to the web page you will find plenty of books hidden in Nebraska communities. To find only titles hidden in Nebraska, go here.  Dorchester, …Hebron, … and more.  The one hidden in Lincoln was recently found by an eager young reader!  I hope you and your library’s children and teens have a great time and read a book or two.

Bertman026Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman tells of Emily (12) who is a big fan of the online game, Book Scavenger, invented by Garrison Griswold.  When her family moves to San Francisco she hopes she can compete in one of his local games.  She finds a copy of The Gold Bug in the BART station where Mr. Griswold was injured during a mugging.  It could be the first clue in a new game he was planning, but he is in a coma and may never wake up.  Emily and her new friend James try to find more clues while a couple of thugs try to find them.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Friday Reads: Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

 

Longo055Harper (17) and her best friend Kate have held to the plan for their futures since sixth grade: to become ballerinas and share an apartment in their home city of San Francisco. Then things fall apart. Kate is on her way to their dream, Harper is not. Her body cannot do what Kate can do. With her dream lost, Harper goes to Antarctica to “winter over” for six months as a research assistant (and to patch herself back together). Told in alternating chapters of “Antarctica” and “San Francisco” the book slowly reveals what Harper should have seen coming but chose to ignore. Booklist says, “An adventure story with lots of heart.”

I found this book interesting because Harper knew little about Antarctica or the science studies connected with wintering over, but she lucked into a lesser assistant position. The reader learns about Antarctica and what Harper’s strong points are as Harper learns them (though a couple of times I did want to whack her upside the head). Still, people have to learn in their own time and way – and that does happen for Harper. I liked that Harper was good at her job, organizing the scientist’s notes and data. Ultimately she is generous to an unlikable member of the winter over team.

An unusual setting for a teen novel, it features two people who were dedicated to their futures and approached them with unfailing intensity and effort.  To lose that would be devastating, and it does take Harper quite a while to move ahead.

Longo, Jennifer. Up to This Pointe. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016.

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NEST 529, College Savings Plan Scholarships!

We are excited the NEST 529 contest continues for this year’s summer reading program. It is the opportunity for children and teens, ages 3-18, to have their names entered into a drawing for a $529 scholarship. Fifteen names will be drawn, five each from our three Congressional Districts.  In order to be included in the drawing, children and teens need to complete their library’s summer reading program, as determined by each individual public library.  Additionally, each winner’s home library will receive $250.

Information, Official Rules, and a sample file for name submissions can be found here.

Instructions included on Tab 1 of the sample submission file are:

  • Please inform parents or guardians of the library’s intention to submit the children’s names for the drawing.  The parent or guardian has the right to exclude their child from the drawing.
  • Print out and post the Official Rules for the NEST 529 drawing.
  • As stated in the Official Rules — “Eligibility: Participation is open only to individual, legal Nebraska residents 3 to 18 years of age as of the date of entry.”
  • Include a phone number &/or email address to contact each child/teen. (Space for these is included on Tab 2 of the Excel file designed for submission.)
  • Libraries must submit contestant information electronically to the Library Commission.
  • If you do not have Excel or another spreadsheet program, send us the names electronically in an email.
  • In order to receive the scholarship, after the drawing the parents of the winners must agree to establish a 529 College savings account.
  • Email the completed file to Sally Snyder by the Deadline of 11:59:59 p.m., CT, on August 25, 2016.
  • Visit this Library Commission web page for links to the complete rules and a poster to display in your library.

Have a fun summer!

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