Author Archives: Sally Snyder

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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What’s Sally Reading?

A Great Resource: Disability in Kidlit

The Disability in Kidlit web page offers the opportunity to look beyond stereotypes to the reality of disabilities. The “About” section on their web page states, “Disability in Kidlit is dedicated to discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature. We publish articles, reviews, interviews, and discussions examining this topic from various angles—and always from the disabled perspective.”

The book reviews presented on the site are of titles that feature a child or teen with a disability, reviewed by people who often also have that disability, to give librarians and others a better idea of what to look for when selecting books for their collections or recommending titles for readers.

Heling062Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play by Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook will draw in young listeners during story time.  Each two-page spread features a clothesline holding things like a shirt, shorts, maybe gloves, a hat, or such, with an item or two on the ground that correspond to a particular sport.  It then asks “What sport does he (or she) play?”  The kids will shout the answer, and the next page also tells the answer.  This is a title I missed for my 2016 summer reading program booklist so I am happy to let you know about it now.  An earlier title by the same authors and illustrator is Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, which I also recommend.  Thank you to Sandy at Lincoln City Libraries for bringing these books to my attention.

(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?

 The 2016 Teens Top Ten Nominees Announced

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has officially announced the nominees for the 2016 Teens Top Ten.  It is a teen choice list containing titles recommended by teens and voted on by teens across the country.  Teen readers are encouraged to read as many of the nominees as they can, and vote for their favorites starting on August 15th through Teen Read Week (October 9-15, 2016).  The final Top Ten will be announced the week following Teen Read Week.  For an annotated list of the nominees, go to this PDF and share it with your teens!

Johnson004To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson is the sequel to The Great Greene Heist which came out in May of 2014.  Jackson Greene (8th grade) has again promised no more schemes or pranks, and stuck with it.  He is surprised when the principal calls him into his office and accuses him and Charlie (his best friend) of flooding the school over the weekend.  There is even video evidence they did it.  They did not do it.  Now they need to discover who doctored the video, and what can be done to clear their names.  The con they concoct will do the trick, if everyone can stick to their task.  Great for middle school readers who love teens getting one over on scalawags.

(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 “Battle of the Kids Books” and

28th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced

School Library Journal’s “Battle of the Kids Books” began on March 7th. Find out more here or go here to learn the results of Round 1, Match 1.  I just have to say that the term “kids’ books” that School Library Journal is using is a bit misleading. The first match was between The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose and Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman… decidedly not kids’ books (depending on how you define “kids”). Otherwise, enjoy the contests!

The 28th annual Lambda Literary Awards, often call the “Lammys,” “celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2015.”  A total of 321 publishers provided a record-breaking 933 submissions for the various categories this year.  Scroll down the list on the web page and within the 25 categories of finalists you will find the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category which lists eight finalists.  Winners will be announced on June 6, 2016.

Harper007 A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper is a picture book I predict many public libraries will add to their collections.  Little Card was trained to be a birthday card, but learns there was a mix-up and now he is to be delivered to a library – where he runs in the door and shouts “Happy Birthday!”  Little Card soon learns his new duties and becomes the library card for a girl.  Imagine his glee when he learns that while birthdays only happen once a year a library card can be used almost every day!  It is fun to see things from a different perspective, that of the new library card.  Another good choice for preschool through grade 1.

(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: Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary, by Gail Jarrow

Jarrow213As a child I first heard the term “Typhoid Mary” as a term, not a person, and did not think much more about it until I read Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow. The author provides clear and concise information about the disease and how it is spread. She then focuses on Mary Mallon and the effort that went into identifying and locating her.

The author gives a brief history of typhoid fever, noting that is has been around since prehistoric times. Then she brings the reader to January of 1903 in Ithaca, New York, where typhoid fever infected a number of local citizens as well as Cornell University students. The author tells of the disease, how it was transmitted, and efforts to reduce the possibility of contracting it. The New York State Commissioner of Health contacted George Soper, a sanitary engineer, who had helped Galveston, Texas deal with sanitation issues and disease following a deadly hurricane. The clean-up of the wells, cesspools and outhouses in Ithaca, along with the installation of a filtration system took several months.

Determined to prevent future outbreaks Soper was soon on the trail of one individual he felt was responsible for spreading the disease in 1906 and beyond. His efforts, along with assistance from others, and Mary Mallon’s viewpoint that she was being harassed for no reason, are documented throughout the rest of the book.  Mary continued to assert she had never contracted typhoid fever and thus could not infect others. Mr. Soper insisted that she must have had a light case that was not diagnosed and continued to carry the disease, his opinion eventually being verified after she was detained and tested.

This account reads like a detective novel and a tragedy. One person feeling persecuted and other people suffering from a terrible disease. Reading this put in my mind a real person who was appalled when the name “Typhoid Mary” first appeared in the newspaper. She had always been honest and worked hard and couldn’t understand why people were so convinced she was spreading disease.

The book includes period photographs, posters, cartoons, and newspaper items that convey the living conditions of the time and the suggestions for avoiding disease. Source notes, a bibliography, and an index are also included.

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What’s Sally Reading?

Bram Stoker Award Finalist Lists

The eleven finalist lists have now been announced on their web page.  In the category Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel the finalists are:  Jennifer Brozek for Never Let Me Sleep (Book 1 of the Melissa Allen Trilogy), Michaelbrent Collings for The Ridealong, John Dixon for Devil’s Pocket (sequel to Phoenix Island), Tonya Hurley for Hallowed (Book 3 of the Blessed trilogy), Maureen Johnson for The Shadow Cabinet (Book 3 of the Shades of London series), and Ian Welke for End Times at Ridgemont High.  I have not read any of these titles, which shows me a gap in my effort to include all genres of books in my reading and recommendations to Nebraska librarians.  (I did read The Diviners and Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray.)  I promise to include more in my reading (and keep the light on at night).

Goodrich019We Forgot Brock! written and illustrated by Carter Goodrich shows the great friendship between Phillip and his imaginary friend Brock.  One fun illustration shows Phillip’s parents in the foreground looking out the window and seeing only Phillip, when the reader knows Brock is there too.  Life takes a turn when the family goes to the Big Fair.  Phillip and Brock have a great time on the rides but Phillip is sleepy when it is time to go home.  Brock, still at the Fair, looks but cannot find Phillip anywhere.  Fortunately he is rescued by Anne and her imaginary friend Princess Sparkledust.  Phillip and Brock struggle to go on without each other – until they run into each other again!  Soon all four are friends.  A fun picture book for preschool through grade 1.

(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?

Gene Luen Lang Named Newest Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

The purpose of the Ambassador is to “raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people” (from their home page, link below).  Lang’s theme for his two-year term is “Reading Without Walls.”  Named in January by the Library of Congress and sponsored by The Center for the Book, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader, the first Ambassador was Jon Scieszka for the 2008-2009 term. A selection committee reviews nominations and makes their choice. Visit their home page to see the criteria and read more about the newest choice.  Previous Ambassadors, in term order, are: Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, Walter Dean Myers and Kate DiCamillo.

Spencer128The Sweetest Heist in History, Book 2 of the “Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective” series by Octavia Spencer finds Randi visiting her aunt Gigi in Brooklyn, New York for Thanksgiving and bringing her new friends D.C. and Pudge with her. They soon uncover suspicious doings in her aunt’s apartment building and at the Brooklyn Museum across the street. Could there be a plot to steal some of the Fabergé eggs soon to be on display? Randi and her friends are determined to outwit any criminals and save the eggs. A fun mystery for readers in grades 4-6.

(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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