Author Archives: Sally Snyder

What’s Sally Reading?

Nominees for YALSA’s 2022 Lists Are Updated Weekly 

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a section of the American Library Association (ALA), has a schedule of updates of nominees for several of their lists for 2022.  Check their blog, The Hub, each week or month to learn what titles are being considered for their Best Fiction for Young Adults (Mondays), Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (Tuesdays), Amazing Audiobooks (Wednesday), and Great Graphic Novels (Thursday).  You see a copy of the cover and a review of the book, usually one title with a review and one or more additional titles merely listed per posting. 

At the bottom of each posting there is occasionally a place to click to see all the postings referring to that list.   A quarterly compilation of each list is available, the first ones were posted on The Hub in early April, the second list was posted in early July.

You and your teens are also welcome to submit titles for consideration for any of the lists.  Also at the bottom of each posting is a link to the information and form to suggest a title for that list.

Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and illustrated by Robyn Smith is a graphic novel included on two nominees’ lists: Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Great Graphic Novels. 

Nubia is fast and strong – really strong.  She is black and her two mothers constantly remind her not to use her strength, it will only get her in trouble; they DO want the best for her.  Her two best friends (LaQuisha and Jason) want her to enjoy her summer, but that seems unlikely.   She is in a convenience store for a refill when two robbers enter.  She stays low, as her mothers would want, until a guy she likes is threatened – and she throws the ATM at the robber and then runs.  No surprise to Nubia, a policeman finds her part way home and handcuffs her, until he learns the two robbers were men.  Then he releases her and tells her to stay out of trouble.

Dealing with many things common in high school – liking a guy and being awkward around him – Nubia must also deal with racism; and keep in mind that if people learn of her abilities, they will likely be afraid of her, they will not see her as Wonder Woman.  But when her best friend Quisha, is threatened by her former boyfriend, Nubia finds a way to catch him out without violence.  And… it turns out Nubia is related to Wonder Woman.

As School Library Journal said, “No superhero collection is complete without Nubia.”

(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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2022 ARPA Youth Grants for Excellence Now Available

The Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) is pleased to announce the availability of Youth Grants for Excellence to legally-established public libraries, tribal libraries, and institutional libraries in Nebraska, through a competitive grant process. The purpose of the Youth Grants for Excellence is to make funding available specifically for innovative projects for children and young adults in Nebraska communities.

This year’s funding is provided from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). ARPA is the result of the federal stimulus bill passed by Congress. Nebraska has received a one-time award of $2,422,166. A portion of that amount will be available via these competitive grants.

Some of the usual rules and requirements for Youth Grants for Excellence will be suspended for this year only:

  • No local match is required.
  • All legally established public libraries are eligible, both accredited and unaccredited, as well as tribal libraries and State run institutions.
  • Libraries will be able to use the grant funds for improving their collection (buy any books you feel you need), and to purchase AWE workstations or an equivalent item, Playaway Launchpad, computers, and furniture for the children’s or teen areas.

Online applications will be accepted through 11:59 PM (CT) on October 7, 2021 and recipients will be notified of funding by October 29, 2021.

Visit the grant webpage for the full grant details and the online application form.

And to learn more, sign up for the September 1 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2022.

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Connected Learning and Teens : What’s it all about? A four-week Canvas workshop

Dates: September 8 – 29

Join Sally Snyder and Laura England-Biggs as we explore content from the T3 grant program sponsored by YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) and COSLA (Chief Officers of State Library Agencies). You’ll learn more about Connected Learning, how to apply it in your library and get a chance to think about next steps. Connected Learning helps us engage our teens with topics that already interest them. That in turn can drive programming numbers, which is what we all want, right?

This free online workshop will last four weeks (September 8 – 29). Zoom Sessions will be held on Wednesdays in Canvas, an online learning platform, starting with the optional introductory session on September 1 at 2 pm Central. This introductory session will explore how Canvas is structured, the content we will cover and answer any logistical questions.

Our first week’s content will kick off Thursday, September 2, and we will meet by Zoom Wednesday September 8 at 2 pm (Central) to check in on everyone’s progress, answer questions, and network. The course cycle repeats through the closing session September 29. Wednesday Zoom Sessions are planned to last from 2 – 3 pm (Central).

This workshop will be limited to 15 participants with another session offered in November 2021. Those who complete the workshop will be eligible to receive 4 hours of CE credit from the Nebraska Library Commission. For more information and registration details, please visit the Nebraska Library Commission’s event calendar.

Another class is scheduled for November, if that month will work better for you, see the calendar. Sign-up will open for it in mid-September.

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Friday Reads: Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

A memoir in five parts. There is a reason Gary Paulsen is so popular: his writing – both his stories and his words.  The author’s method of storytelling creates a smooth transition that enables the reader to evolve from observer to active participant.

Many librarians have read or heard Paulsen say that the library saved his life.  Here, along with other tales of his childhood and young adulthood, the reader learns much more about the story behind his statement.  Part Four, titled “Thirteen,” contains this story.  It begins,

“Because it was safe there.

In the library. Only three places safe. The library, moving through the alleys at night after hard dark and, best of all, the woods.”

Part One starts the book with his mother putting him (at five years old) on a train, alone, in Chicago, for a total trip of about 800 miles to his relatives’ farm in Minnesota.  We join Paulsen as he encounters security with his aunt and uncle, then the opposite as his life changes on another person’s whim, with no consideration for his preferences or choices.  Throughout his life, he found security, safety, and peace in the woods, on his own. This book is for anyone who has loved any of Gary Paulsen’s books, from middle school age through high school and adulthood.  Readers of his other memoir, Guts, will find different stories of his life here.

Paulsen, Gary. Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood. (New York) Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, LLC, 2021.

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Friday Reads: The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Nora (17) (not her real name) was rescued from her con-artist mother five years ago by her older half-sister, Lee.  Nora was part of each con her mother planned and carried out. She was Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie, and Ashley.  Being each one taught her things that she will soon need.  Five years of living with her sister, going to therapy, going to school, her boyfriend Wes, who is now her ex-boyfriend, may have taken some of her edge off, or not.

Nora, Wes, and Nora’s new love Iris (Nora is bisexual) meet at the bank to deposit the money their fund-raiser collected.  Once in the bank they find themselves in the middle of a bank robbery, and things are not going well.  There are two robbers, one the brains and the other is always quick to panic.  Nora will need all of her skills to keep everyone safe: her friends, the teller, the guard, and a girl who was waiting for her father.

Each chapter heading notes the time, how long they have been captive, and what “weapons” they have.  Some gruesome things happen, both in the past and in the present.  Nora, Wes, and Iris were each abused as children and this situation brings out some of that.  They each have found a way to survive and heal.

Tension is strong throughout the book.  Nora maintains her cool and manipulates the robbers when she can.  When one tactic doesn’t work, she changes to another.  It is clear that everyone is in danger.  She exudes confidence, but inside she knows everything can quickly go wrong.

Flashbacks occur regularly, filling the reader in on what Nora did with her mother, as she was each of the girls her mother created for her.  These pages are slightly gray to stand out from the rest of the book.

This book will pull you in and not let go.  It has continued to be on my mind since I read it earlier this month.  It received a starred review from Booklist and Kirkus.  It is written for grades 9 and up, and new adults might also pick it up off the shelf.

Sharpe, Tess. The Girls I’ve Been. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2021.

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What’s Sally Reading?

ALA Youth Media Awards Were Announced January 25, 2921!

The American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2021 Youth Media Awards on Monday.  You can see the lists on their press release.  Or you may choose to visit the ALA’s site for this page that lists each award, to click on the one you are interested in to see the award winner and honor books listed.  This year I did poorly in the number of awarded books I have read, so I already have a few that I missed on reserve at the library. 

The Coretta Scott King Author Book Award was given to Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson.  It is told in free verse.  ZJ’s (Zacharias Johnson, J.) father is a professional football star.  A loving husband and father who would play with ZJ and his friends and loved music and laughter.  That was Before. 

Now his father is experiencing painful headaches and memory loss.  Set in the early 2000s, when the study of the effects of many hits in football was just underway and we were beginning to realize concussions are dangerous. The reality of the father’s injuries is tough to see.  Damage done cannot be changed.  The resultant effects upon family and friends is both poignant and heartfelt.

This book is a good choice for grades 5 – 8.

(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?

ALA Upcoming Youth Awards and Newly Announced Lists

The American Library Association (ALA) will announce the Youth Media Awards (think Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King Awards and more) starting at 8 am CT next Monday, January 25.  For the first time that I am aware of, they also have released several annual booklists early.  They are:

Best Fiction for Young Adults

Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Check these lists out to see what you may already have in your collection.

One of the Top Ten titles for the “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” Continue reading

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Friday Reads: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This novel is told in free verse and in the alternating voices of two almost 17-year-olds, who find out about each other and that they are half-sisters only after their father dies in a plane crash.  Yahaira lives in New York with her parents and misses her father when he travels to the Dominican Republic every summer, she thinks it is for business.  Camino lives with her aunt in the Dominican Republic and loves the summer since that is when her father is with her.

It includes their shock and grief at the loss of their father. The pain of overcoming the disappointment & betrayal they feel as they learn about his secret families; and realizing their futures are now at risk too.

It is also a celebration of family, and of the path to a hopefully better future for both daughters.

The author explains that it is a Dominican custom to clap when the plane lands the passengers back in the Dominican Republic.

Acevedo, Elizabeth. (2020). Clap When You Land. Quill Tree Books.

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Youth Grants for Excellence now available

Applications for the Youth Grants for Excellence are now available for accredited public libraries and state-run institutional libraries in Nebraska. The program is designed to encourage innovative projects for children and teens via creative thinking, risk-taking, expanding current programs, and new approaches to address problems and needs of children and young adults in your community. Grant applications are due October 7, 2020. Applications must be received by the Nebraska Library Commission submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. CT. You will be notified by November 13, 2020 if you are awarded a grant.  Find the application form here, near the bottom of the page.

Join us on September 23, 2020 for the NCompass Live program that will address recommendations for your application for this and other grants from the Library Commission.

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Friday Reads: Shine! by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein

Piper (7th grade) considers herself a “blender,” one who would rather blend in with the crowd than stand out.  When her father is hired as the music teacher at the exclusive Chumley Prep, she is thrust into a new school where, it seems, everyone excels.  The quintessential mean girl is there, Ainsley, and she is almost nonstop mean.   Still, Piper finds some good friends and things are looking up. 

Then a new competition is announced: The Excelsior Prize, and everyone is determined to win it, though no one is quite sure what accomplishments it celebrates.  Piper manages to continue being herself, helping others and working hard in her classes.  She also would like to win the new prize, and the Science Fair seems to be the first step.  Piper is feeling good about her entry, and then she is blindsided by Ainsley, who uses a technicality to exclude Piper from the Science Fair, taking first place for herself, hoping it will help ensure that she, Ainsley, wins the new Excelsior Prize. 

This is a positive book about being true to yourself and caring about others. It is for upper elementary and early middle school readers. 

Grabenstein, J.J. and Chris. Shine! Random House Books for Young Readers, 2019.

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What’s Sally Reading?

More Book Awards Announced!

The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature announced, on May 6, 2020, the winners and honor books for two prestigious awards.  The Irma Simonton and James H. Black Award  went to The Crayon Man: The Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons written by Natascha Biebow and illustrated by Steven Salerno. This award is for “an outstanding book for young children,” with text and illustrations working together, and is selected by children.  Given since 1973 (where have I been?  I just now heard about this award!) the award also has three honor books.

The Cook Prize has been awarded since 2012, and acknowledges excellence in picture books addressing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in its content.  Also selected by children, the 2020 winner is Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Teresa Martinez.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry is one of the Honor Books for the Irma Simonton and James H. Black Award.  Zuri’s hair is hard to control. Since today is a special day, Daddy is up to the task.  They try several hairstyles with poor results.  Then, just the right approach works for them. Everything is ready when Mommy gets home! There is a welcome banner up for her, but we do not know where she has been.  A wonderful story of family care and love.

(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: Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Flint, 13 and in 6th grade, is losing his eyesight.  It has been deteriorating for a while and now he sits alone at lunch working on his entry for the “Find a Comic Book Star” contest – hoping to finish it before his eyesight is completely gone.   His former best friend now bullies him, since Flint can no longer play on the football team as he used to, and now they call him “Squint.”

Then one day the new girl, McKell, sits with him at lunch.  He first thinks it must be some kind of a trick, since she is friends with the popular group. When he realizes it is not a trick, Flint and McKell begin to develop a friendship – focused on McKell’s brother Danny’s, challenges on YouTube.  She needs help to keep her promise to him – to complete certain challenges. 

Hitting topics such as: bullying, empathy, loss, and friendship, as SLJ says, “Recommend for any library serving middle grade readers.”

Set in Lincoln , NE, this title is the 2019 winner of the Nebraska Center for the Book, Teen Novel Award.

Morris, Chad & Shelly Brown. Squint. Shadow Mountain, 2018.

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What’s Sally Reading?

Teens’ Top Ten!

The Teens’ Top Ten overall list was announced yesterday. The 25 titles are listed on YALSA’s blog, The Huband on the YALSA website. Titles must have been published between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019 to be selected for the overall list by designated teen book groups. Encourage your teens to read from this list so they can vote for their favorite when voting is opened: August 15 – October 12, 2020.

Some of the listed titles I have read are Pumpkinheads by Nebraska author Rainbow Rowell, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe, and With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I talked about Pumpkinheads in my post about the 2020 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (on 1/9/20), so now I will share my thoughts about the other two titles.

Ben Phillippe, was born in Haiti and grew up in Montreal, Canada. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager tells of Norris Kaplan, a Black French Canadian, now living in Austin, Texas. He is smart, clever, and a little pessimistic – a tough combination for the Texans to handle. Norris, in a new high school, is constantly sweating profusely (he is unaccustomed to the hot weather). He steps back from everyone and judges who they are and what they do. Over time he begins to see the other students as people, some he likes and some he does not. After he makes a bad mistake, he realizes he has to step up, face the music, and see what he can do with his life. In January this book was named the winner of the 2020 Morris Award, for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo shares the life of Emoni Santiago, who is Afro-Latina, now in her senior year at high school. She is thinking of the future but also about her daughter Emma, 2, and her abuela, with whom they live. She loves cooking in the kitchen and has an almost magical touch. Those who eat what she has cooked always comment on how the food helps them with whatever issue is in their lives. She wants to become a chef, but is aware of all the factors that make it impossible.

A new elective offered during her senior year is just what she needs, including a chance to go with the class to Spain and work with a chef there for a week. Emoni takes on so much, and is still not sure it will result in what she wishes for, until the very end of 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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Friday Reads: The Usual Suspects, by Maurice Broaddus

The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus

While Thelonious Mitchell enjoys pulling pranks at school to get a rise out of their teacher and the principal, there is no way he or his best friend Nehemiah, would do anything dangerous. A gun was found in the park next to the school, and the administration is on alert.

Thelonious is more than irritated that the first place anyone looks for the guilty party is the special education classroom (where he is), where neuro-atypical students do their best (and occasionally cause trouble). He is now determined to solve this crime, along with Nehemiah, to prove their innocence

Mr. Blackmon is not the teacher, but he is assigned to work with Thelonious and guide him to better choices and decisions. The unfair accusations and suspicions hurt, and Thelonious’s growth as a leader with integrity, is delightful to see.

Broaddus, Maurice. The Usual Suspects. Katherine Tegen Books, 2019

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What’s Sally Reading?

YALSA Announces the 2020 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a division of the American Library Association (ALA),  announced the list on January 8, 2020 on their blog, The Hub.  You will see the committee also chose a “top ten” out of the 64 titles on the final list.

One of the titles selected as a top ten of the list is the graphic novel Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, a Nebraska author. Deja and Josiah (who goes by Josie) are great friends and have worked together each fall at the pumpkin patch. This is the last day of their last fall together. Deja is determined to get Josie to talk to his four-year crush – the Fudge Girl. He is reluctant. This final evening is a whirlwind of hitting different parts of the Patch trying to find his crush. They encounter a snack-thief, a runaway goat, the maze, lots of chances to eat, all as Josie suffers anxiety about actually talking to Fudge Girl.     As School Library Journal (8/1/19) says, “The characters in this graphic novel are so expressive and authentic, it’s impossible not to love them…the dialog is cute, funny, and punny…”

Ms. Rowell notes in the back of the book that the Pumpkin Patch in the novel is fictional. However, illustrator Faith Erin Hicks did travel to Omaha to join Rainbow Rowell in a visit to her favorite Omaha pumpkin patch. There is a fun conversation between them at the back of 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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Friday Reads: ‘Komi Can’t Communicate’ by Tomohito Oda

A black and white manga, set to read from back to front, as is done in Japan, this is the first book in a new series. Komi is the ultimate student at the high school and others are afraid to talk to her because she is aloof and extraordinary. Tadano is just happy he is now going to Itan Private High School, and he is planning to blend in and not be noticed. When asked to introduce herself, as all the students in class were asked to do on the first day, she walked to the front of the room, picked up the chalk, and wrote Shoko Komi on the board, walked back to her desk and sat down without saying a word.

At the end of the class, Tadano finds himself alone in the classroom with Komi after all the students and teacher have left. There he discovers Komi is not aloof, she freezes whenever she tries to speak to someone. She writes what she feels on the chalkboard, letting him know that she wants to make friends and hopes he will help her. Tadano finds he has promised to help her make 100 friends, starting with him. Tadano is in trouble now because he doesn’t have any friends yet, aside from Komi, and so has no one to introduce to her. Then he encounters Osana, an old friend from junior high, and she knows everyone in the school. Maybe they are on the way to making 99 more friends for Komi.

The artwork showing Komi with huge eyes or frozen and trembling does a great job of conveying her level of discomfort and social anxiety.

There are three volumes out now, and volume four will be published in December. The entry on Amazon says there will be six volumes in this series, and I definitely want to read the titles that are available now.

Oda, Tomohito. Komi Can’t Communicate, Volume 1. VIZ Media, 2019.

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What’s Sally Reading?

Teens’ Top Ten Voting is Now Open!

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced that voting is now open for the 2019 Teens’ Top Ten.  They encourage teens, ages 12-18, at your library to read and vote by October 13, 2018 for the book they think is the best.

The list of 25 contenders is located on YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten (TTT) page, just scroll down a bit for it, and you will also see where you can download a PDF of the 25 titles with annotations.

Teens, and only teens, may vote on this designated page by clicking on the “Vote” button below their choice. Teens may vote for up to three books.

The “Top Ten” titles will be announced on October 16, 2019.  You can revisit the main TTT page to learn the results.

Not on this year’s TTT list, but still powerful, Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess bring us Swing. Noah (17) (and white) has feelings for longtime friend, Sam (Samantha) but has yet to say anything to her. His best friend, Walt (African-American), who now goes by Swing, encourages him to let her know. Walt is determined to make the baseball team this coming year, and has a love of jazz – so both combine for his new, self-imposed, nickname. When Noah finds some old love letters in a gently used handbag he bought for his mother, he is inspired to use them as a guide to write to Sam. But he is caught off-guard when Swing gives one to her anonymously, for him. All of this is swept aside after a tragedy in the park.

Jazz, poetry & art, love, told in free verse.  As Kirkus (9/1/18) says, “Noah is the narrator, but it is Swing, with his humor, irresistible charm, and optimism, who steals the spotlight.”

(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?

How to Pronounce an Author’s Name

It has been awhile since I mentioned the place to go to learn how to pronounce an author’s name, on – this section of the page is free to visit and use, you do not need to sign up for it.

The website on June 4, 2010 noted it had 2,207 author names included and on July 25, 2019, it had 2,559 author names included, so they are continuing to add pronunciations. For each entry the author has been recorded pronouncing his or her name, and they usually have a comment or two as well, about their families or a funny occurrence at a conference.

You may wonder why some of the authors’ names are included – they may pronounce their name just like we think it is, or it may be a bit different. For example, I listened to Gail Carson Levine since I wondered if she pronounces it Le-veen or Le-vine. It is Le-veen.

Many authors or illustrators give the listener a rhyming word to help remember the pronunciation.  I liked Ibi Zoboi’s recording, explaining that her students used to say “Ibi is a boy” (even though she isn’t).   Warning: you can spend a lot of time on this website.

Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India by Chitra Soundar contains two books from India of traditional folktales brought together in this volume encompassing a total of eight wisdom stories.

In them, Prince Veera and Suku, his best friend, occasionally step in for the King to listen to complaints and disagreements among their subjects. Some of the stories may be familiar to adults, but will intrigue those new to the logic used by the Prince.  For example, one merchant charged a poor man for enjoying the aroma of his delicious baked goods. In another, a man sells his neighbor a well, but did not include the water.

Compassion and empathy are emphasized, and some humor is included as well.   Stylized black-and-gray illustrations throughout add to the stories and there are only seven two-page spreads without any art.  This title is designed for grades 3-6.  (This will be on my Summer Reading Program list for 2020!)

(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: What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

Set in the 1970s, Nandu (12) was found alone at about age 2, except for a pack of wild dogs protecting him, in the Nepalese Borderlands, having been abandoned by his parents.  He was unofficially adopted by the Subba-sahib, the head of an elephant stable in the Borderlands, a very southern part of Nepal.  The King of Nepal owns the stable and the elephants, but only rides once a year to hunt tigers in the area.  Nandu is learning to handle elephants and become a mahout (an elephant trainer) – his charge is an older female elephant called Devi Kali, and she is protective of him.

The beauty and danger of nature is explored and appreciated, as Nandu, Devi Kali, and other mahouts and elephants walk to the river for the elephants’ baths and sometimes must go into the jungle.  Orphan rhino calves are rescued by the boys and tended by Rita, the sister of Nandu’s friend, Dilly.  And sometimes the wild dogs provide unexpected assistance.

When Nandu is sent away to school, hopefully to learn things that will help the stable, he finds bullies and a couple of friends.  One teacher accepts his invitation to visit the stable, and Father Autry’s wisdom is very helpful to Nandu and the Subba-sahib.  The stable is threatened with closure, and at first the Subba-sahib takes no action, only waiting for the King’s reply to his request not to close.  Things are beginning to look dire when Rita suggests they change their focus to becoming a breeding stable.  It becomes Nandu’s job to travel to the elephant sale and buy a tusker worthy of their elephants, an event he has never attended and something he knows little about.   Will he be successful and will that keep the stable alive?

Books that contain a great story and some actual facts about animals have always appealed to me.  This title will appeal to middle grade readers (grades 4-7) who are likewise interested in animal stories.  I have not yet read the companion novel (listed below), but I am going to have to find myself a copy.

Awards include winning the 2017 South Asia Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, and being named a 2017 ALA Notable Children’s Book.

What Elephants Know is followed by A Circle of Elephants: A Companion Novel, which was published in January of 2019.

Dinerstein, Eric. What Elephants Know. Disney-Hyperion, 2016.

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CSLP’s 2019 Teen Video Challenge!

Looking for an easy program to share with your teens? The 2019 Teen Video Challenge (TVC) sponsored by the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) has been streamlined to help make participating in this contest easier than ever!

[] This site contains links to the Official TVC Submission Form, the Complete Contest Rules, and winning videos from years past. Changes with this new approach to the TVC:

  • Instead of state winners, there will be 5 national winners. Just have your teens submit a link to their video.
  • The program will accept submissions June 1-Aug 2, 2019, so that you can incorporate it into your summer programs (its still a great opportunity to partner with schools with video production classes or clubs; students can produce the videos as a class project and submit them in June!)
  • Videos will be limited to 60 seconds, making this a much more doable project for small teams.
  • Permission and model release forms will only be required from the winning entries (completing the forms is a requirement to receive prizes and acknowledgement).
  • The TVC Ad-Hoc Committee will convene a judging panel from CSLP partners and members.
  • Video uploads will not be limited to YouTube and Vimeo; rather, teens can upload to the social media outlet of their choice.

I hope your teens will give it a try!

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