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Tag Archives: Gary D. Schmidt
I do read more age-appropriate books occasionally, I promise. But when my hold for The Labors of Hercules Beal became available, I tossed aside the mystery I was halfway through to dive into this instead. Whodunit? Who cares? Gary D. Schmidt is just that good.
If you have never read one of his middle-grade novels, start with The Wednesday Wars, or Okay for Now (both are available as Book Club Kits here at the Nebraska Library Commission!). If you are more familiar with Schmidt’s writing, this latest book will feel like coming home.
Hercules Beal is about to start 7th grade. But instead of joining his friends on the bus to the local public middle school, he will be walking to the Cape Code Academy for Environmental Sciences. He is not excited about this latest revelation, but not surprised. Over the last 18 months, it’s been nothing but bad news. He lost both of his parents in The Accident. His older brother Achilles reluctantly moved home, leaving his globe-trotting journalism career to run the Beal Family Farm and Nursery. His request for a pet dog was overruled in favor of a pet rabbit named “Honey Bunny.” Oh, and his new teacher this fall is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel. That’s a lot of rotten luck for a kid who hasn’t yet hit his Beal Family Growth Spurt.
But middle school begins, as sure as the sun rising over the dunes of Cape Cod, and Hercules does grow, both in his statute and in his understanding of what great possibilities life still has in store. Lt. Colonel Hupfer gives each student in his class a yearlong assignment based on a mythological topic. Our “hero” is tasked with performing the Twelve Labors of Hercules, or as close to them as he can manage. As he struggles through each labor, he receives help from some unexpected sources. Many things go wrong… so very, very (often hilariously) wrong! But many more go just heart-breakingly right.
That is my favorite aspect of Schmidt’s novels; how wonderfully he captures the ups and downs of adolescent life. He makes me laugh out loud, and then burst into tears in the next chapter. Will he have the same affect on actual adolescents? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I’m more susceptible to the tear-jerking scenes because I’ve already been through this part of life and I know how it turns out. But even if you are a 13 year old kid and you don’t cry when the [redacted so you can find out for yourself], I hope you can at least recognize that when Schmidt’s characters feel alone, but they are not actually alone; there are people looking out for them, cheering them on, ready to help when things get tough. And if you are well past middle school, as I am, I hope you can remember what those years were like, and keep an eye out for those kiddos that might need a supportive grownup in their corner.
Schmidt, Gary D. (2023). The Labors of Hercules Beal. Clarion Books.
Throw your hands in the air for #BookFaceFriday!
Check out this new book by Newbery Honor-winning writer Gary D. Schmidt! This week’s #BookFaceFriday! “Just Like That” (Clarion Books, 2021), follows a character we meet in Schmidt’s Wednesdays Wars, and like his other titles, expertly blends humor and tragedy. It is available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both ebook and Audiobook format, so no matter how your kid likes to read, this book is for you. We have eight Gary Schmidt titles in our OverDrive collection, and two titles available in our Book Club Kits collection.
“Set in 1968, Just Like That is part of an outstanding series that began with Newbery Honor recipient The Wednesday Wars and continued in Okay for Now, a finalist for the National Book Award. While each book can be read separately, overlapping characters and themes enrich each other in understated and often profound ways. “Just Like That” is a riveting, award-worthy novel from a truly accomplished writer. Don’t miss it.” —BookPage
Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 190 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!
This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Cataloging Librarian, Shoshana Patocka!
Eek! It’s #BookFaceFriday!
Looking for a middle grade read for your newly housebound kids? Check out this Newbery Honor-winning novel by Gary D. Schmidt! Join the unforgettable antihero Holling Hoodhood as he tackles the 7th grade in this week’s #BookFaceFriday! “The Wednesday Wars” (HMH Books, 2009) is available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both ebook and Audiobook format. So no matter how you like to read, this book is for you. 173 libraries across the state share this collection of 12,407 audiobooks and 24,143 eBooks, with new titles added weekly. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!
“Schmidt…makes the implausible believable and the everyday momentous…a gentle, hopeful, moving story.” —ALA Booklist, starred review
This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Holly Atterbury, one of our Talking Book & Braille Service Library Readers Advisors. Unfortunately, (well maybe fortunately) we were unable to find a rat or mouse willing to pose with Holly.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream in this week’s #BookFaceFriday.
Hold onto your cone, we’ve got a two-scoop #BookFace for you this week! A few of the staff over in the Talking Book & Braille department were kind enough to help us out with this week’s Book Face (they were generously compensated with ice cream). We’re excited to highlight two great YA books in our book club collection, “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1999) and “Okay for Now” by Gary D. Schmidt (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013). The Nebraska Library Commission offers book club kits to both public and school libraries. These two titles have both been honored with award nominations. “Okay for Now” was a National Book Award Finalist and “Maniac Magee” is a Newbery Medal winner! Get these young adult novels reserved for your book club to read today!
“Okay for Now” by Gary D. Schmidt
“Reproductions of Audubon plates introduce each chapter in this stealthily powerful, unexpectedly affirming story of discovering and rescuing one’s best self, despite family pressure to do otherwise.”—Booklist, starred review
“Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli
“A Newbery Medal winning modern classic about a racially divided small town and a boy who runs.” —Amazon
This week’s #BookFace models are Gabe Kramer, TBBS Audio Production Studio Manager; and Jerry Hall, TBBS volunteer! A special thanks to TBBS Director, Scott Scholz, for lending a hand.
Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!