Libri Dilectio: December 2010

13 December 2010

Secret Santa Presents

Yay! My Secret Santa presents came today! I love getting presents…especially book type presents! I want to thank my secret santa, Caroline of Words and Whispers. She has a great blog, so go check it out and leave her some love!

Now for presents…yay! She got me City of Glass and City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare! I just finished reading City of Ashes, so I’m excited to have my own copy and SUPER excited to have City of Glass! I’m going to start reading it reallyreally soon.

Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

08 December 2010

Book Award Predictions (2011)

Yesterday, on our booktalk visit, the teacher put J and me on the spot for our Newbery predictions. We had a little trouble coming up with them on the fly, but I’ve been thinking about it since then so here are my award predictions! They’ll be announced pretty soon, what are yours? It’s a lot harder than last year to come up with some good ones!

Becky’s ALA Award Predictions!

Caldecott: My Garden, Kevin Henkes
Newbery: A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park
Printz: Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan

I am also expecting to see One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia and Keeper by Kathi Appelt as Newbery honors. I’d really like to see Here Comes the Garbage Barge by Jonah Winter as a Caldecott honor (although they might surprise me and just give it the award!).

What are your picks? Tell me! Tell me now.

Not familiar with Here Comes the Garbage Barge? It’s amazing! Watch this video to see how Jonah Winter made the very unique, detailed illustrations.

07 December 2010

The Further Adventures of a Booktalking Librarian

At the end of the last school year I got to go to a local elementary school for a booktalk. It was lots of fun and…I got to do it AGAIN!

The class is made up of 3rd-5th grade advanced readers. This time around my fellow librarian and I each brought 12 titles to share with the kids…okay, well I brought 13. Lucky 13! I just couldn’t cut any of them! Here are the books I couldn’t wait to share!

A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park
Salva is just a normal boy living in Sudan in 1985 – he goes to school, helps his family with their cattle, and spends time with friends. Then one day, his school is attacked by soldiers and Salva’s teacher sends the boys running into the bush to hide themselves. This starts off many years of running and living in refugee camps for Salva. He is one of the lost boys of Sudan, a boy who has lost everyone and still manages to walk hundreds of miles across unforgiving terrain to safety in the camps. Salva’s story is told alongside the story of a young girl living in modern day Sudan. Her family’s biggest problem is water. They follow the water all year long, sometimes water that is mostly mud. Until the day two men come to their village and offer to help.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch
Mirka is a spunky, troll fighting, fast talking, orthodox Jewish girl. She lives in the small community, Hereville, and dreams of adventure. Mirka’s step mother wants her to focus on useful tasks (like knitting), her sister wants her to be mindful of the husband she will one day have, and her brother just tells her not to do things all the time. Mirka just wants to fight dragons, but first she needs a sword.

The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner
Gen is the greatest thief in the world, just ask him. When he brags that he can steal the King’s seal from right under the nose of his closest advisor, he is overheard by the wrong people. He is caught and jailed, kept alone in a cell and chained to the wall. Then one day, the very advisor who he had stolen from, takes him out of prison and offers him a deal. If Gen can pull off an impossible heist, he’ll be free, if not, he’ll be dead.

Bread and Roses Too, Katherine Paterson
Rosa is a child of the Mills – she goes to a Mill school, her mother and older sister work in the Mills, and her father died in them. Her mother and sister get caught up in the Bread and Roses strike and soon Rosa is fearing for their lives. With no money coming in and less food than ever, Rosa also starts to worry that she’ll be sent away. Meanwhile, Jake is a boy who works in the Mills to support himself and to keep away from his abusive father. Jake too finds himself in the middle of the strike, but as one of the workers.

Gideon the Cutpurse, Linda Buckley-Archer
Peter Schock has been sent away to the English countryside and he isn’t very happy about it. He soon befriends Kate Dyer, whose father is a brilliant scientist, studying anti-gravity. When Peter and Kate come across one of Dr. Dyer’s inventions, they find themselves suddenly transported back in time to 1763. There they meet Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman. Gideon is on the run from the Tar Man, a villain who has stolen Dr. Dyer’s invention and Kate and Peter’s only way home. This story is told from the perspectives of Kate and Peter, but also their parents in the 21st century as they search for their children.

Terrier, Tamora Pierce
Sixteen year old Becka Cooper was born in the lower city and earned her way into the home of the Lord Provost, a high ranking official. From there she trained hard to become one of the Provost’s Guards, a Dog. Her first year of training is her Puppy year, but Becka already has what it takes to be a full fledged Dog. She is smart, dedicated, and has a little extra ability to help her out. Becka hears the voices of the dead in a most unusual fashion. Pigeons carry uneasy spirits and these spirits speak to Becka, telling her about their life and death. Through these voices she is able to find out things about crimes that other Dogs cannot. Her fellow trainees and Dogs call her the Terrier because once she gets her teeth into a mystery she won’t let go.

Airman, Eoin Colfer
Conor Broekhart was born flying. He knows it’s his destiny to fly again and devotes much of his time to studying flight with his tutor. His life on the Saltee Islands is a happy one until the day he uncovers a plot to overthrow the king. When he tries to expose the plot, he’s called a traitor and imprisoned. As an inmate, Conor must face horrible conditions to mine diamonds, all the while knowing his friends and family are in danger and that he is innocent.

Peter and the Starcatchers, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
We all know how Wendy, John, and Michael got to Neverland, but did you ever wonder how Peter Pan did? This series introduces readers to Peter before he became the flying boy who wouldn’t grow up. A group of orphan boys set sail on the Never Land for an island ruled by an evil king. Their ship doesn’t just carry orphans, it also has some very precious cargo that will take them on the adventure of a lifetime and turn a boy into a legend.

The Danger Box, Blue Balliett
Mr. Zip has arranged for a game to be played all around an incredibly valuable item, he sends it out into the world, but before the game can start, he dies of a heart attack. The man transporting the box realizes that he has something he can use for his own gain, but then his truck, with the box inside, is stolen. Soon the box ends up in the hands of Zoomy, a 12 year old boy with a very unique way of looking at the world. Zoomy feels a connection to the item inside the box and starts investigating the history behind it, but all the while the mysterious man is still out there, searching for the box.

Absolutely Normal Chaos, Sharon Creech

Mary Lou Finney is not excited about her summer school assignment. She has to keep a journal of her summer and her life is not interesting enough to make that any fun. Then her cousin Carl Ray comes to stay with her family and her best friend gets a little nuts. Then there’s Alex Cheevey, a sweet boy who starts to make her summer a lot more interesting. Now Mary Lou’s biggest problem is that her teacher might actually read her journal!

13 Treasures, Michelle Harrison
Tanya has a problem, she’s being bullied…by fairies. They wake her up at night to pester and torment her, but no one else can see them. Her mother thinks she would benefit from spending some time away. Tanya finds herself at her Grandmother’s home, an old English manor that’s covered in ivy, surrounded by forests, and teeming with fairies. She is soon thrust into a years old mystery, discovering secrets about her own past, and making friends with some very unlikely people.

The Chimpanzees I Love, Jane Goodall
When Jane Goodall was a little girl she decided she wanted to know how a chicken laid an egg. She went out to her family’s hen house and waiting patiently for four hours to see how the task was accomplished. When she finally came out, it had gotten dark and her family was frantically searching for her – thus starting her long career as a naturalist. Jane was sent to the Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania by Dr. Louis Leaky in 1957 to study the chimpanzees there.

Dark Life, Kat Falls
Set in our future, after global warming has raised sea levels to the point of cutting off huge chunks of land, Dark Life tells the story of the first sub sea settlers. Ty was the first baby to be born and raised sub sea. As such, there are several things about him that are entirely unique to his living situation. Due to the amount of bio luminescent fish he eats, Ty’s skin has a permanent shimmer, he’s extremely sensitive to sunlight, but most of all, seemingly has the ability to see even in the darkest depths of the ocean. When Ty meets Gemma, a “topsider” from the remaining world above, she sets in motion events that will change his life forever.

06 December 2010

Book Review: Matched

Matched, Ally Condie
(Gr 7+)
Dutton Juvenile, November 2010. Reviewed from ARC from ALA.

Cassia Reyes lives in a world where everything is controlled by the Society; what she reads, listens to, how she spends her free time, what she eats, even who she will marry. The Society pairs people based on their various levels of compatibility, including how healthy their children might be. On the night of her matching ceremony Cassia is very happy to find out that her match is her lifelong best friend, Xander. She knows he’s the perfect match for her, until she gets home and tries to play her match disc which will introduce her to all the things she needs to know about Xander, things she’s pretty sure she already knows. When she starts the disc, instead of seeing Xander’s face, she sees a different boy, one she also knows. Ky has always lived on the outskirts of Cassia’s group of friends, not someone she’s close with, but not a stranger. Is he really her true match, or is it all just a big mistake? And, if he isn’t her match, why is she suddenly so drawn to him?

I’m not sure what I could say about this book that hasn’t already been said by just about every other book blogger out there. It seems like everyone has read (and loved) this one. Well, I’ve read it and, while I can’t say that I loved it, I did enjoy it. The Society is an interesting view of a possible future, one that seemed more and more probable as I read on. However, I was more interested in the world Condie built than in the characters who inhabited it. There wasn’t much character development apart from Cassia. Yes, this makes sense since she’s the main character, but I wanted to know more about her friends and family, especially the two boys who are vying for her affections. Why is Xander her perfect match? What’s so awesome about Ky? Sure, he’s interesting because he’s got that whole forbidden thing going on, but I wanted him to be more of a fleshed out character. Although, I suppose he’ll become more of one as the trilogy goes on. I’ll just have to wait and see.

My favorite character, and the one Cassia seemed to have the closest relationship with, was her grandfather. He is the real influence behind all of her questions about the Society. The boys might be the more obvious ones, but he’s the spark that ignites Cassia. He was also an interesting link between a world that was more like ours and the Society. I think that’s why I was drawn to him even though he isn’t in the book for very long.

Finally, that cover is HOT! I want that dress, and I want a party to go to that is so fancy that I’d be able to wear that dress. And I’d also like that girl’s hair…and her figure…okay…I’m cover obsessed. Not only is it pretty, it’s super appropriate for the story. Cassia is trapped inside what the Society wants her to think and starting to push against it. This novel is definitely worth a read. I haven’t actually talked to anyone yet who has disliked it, so you’ll probably like it too!

02 December 2010

Book Review: Once in a Full Moon

Once in a Full Moon, Ellen Schreiber
(Gr 7-9)
Review copy provided by publisher.

Katherine Tegen Books coming 28 December 2010.

Celeste Parker has everything a teenage girl could ever want; a loving family, good friends, popularity, brains, and a super cute jock boyfriend. She isn’t completely sure about the boyfriend though. Nash is cute and popular, and her two best friends want her to date him because they’re dating his best friends, but that might not be enough. Logan’s Run is a small town and very much divided between the Eastside and Westside, so when someone new moves to town, it’s cause for lots of talk and speculation, especially when they move to the wrong side of town. Brandon Maddox immediately catches Celeste’s eye. He may be all wrong for her, but something about him draws her in. Then he saves her from a pack of wolves in the woods and strange sightings of a huge wolf creature start all over town. Suddenly Celeste’s perfect little life is a lot more interesting.

This is the first Ellen Schreiber book I’ve ever read. She also writes the Vampire Kisses series and now has turned her attention to that other popular supernatural creature, the werewolf. Celeste’s life slowly starts to revolve around werewolves. At the start of the novel she is out in the woods with her friends and their boyfriends telling scary stories about Legend’s Run’s own werewolf. Her favorite resident at the senior living community she volunteers at is a werewolf expert and then she decides to do a school project on…you guessed it…werewolves! This chick needs to spend more time playing with her dog!

Brandon and Celeste’s relationship progresses pretty much as any other paranormal romance relationship. They go from being barely acquaintances to head over heels in love really quickly. Their relationship, while on fast forward, is rather tame and definitely appropriate for younger teen readers (nothing more than a few steamy kisses). Junior high girls will flip for their wrong side of the tracks/different species love story, but older readers might find it a little boring.

Overall this was a pretty predictable, but mostly entertaining story. I liked Celeste, but I didn’t really understand her relationship with her friends. They seem to like her, but she worries that they won’t be her friends anymore if she isn’t dating super jock, Nash. Maybe they’ll redeem themselves in the later books. Yes, later books, this is a pretty obvious series opener. Here’s my parting thought for this novel, if you read it, let me know what you think of the descriptions of the werewolf. They’re not like any I’ve read before that’s for sure!

01 December 2010

Itty Bitty Book Revew: Trickster’s Girl

Trickster’s Girl, Hilari Bell
(Gr 9+)
Review copy provided by publisher.

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, coming 3 January 2011.

Synopsis from Amazon:

“In the year 2098 America isn’t so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, “secured” doesn’t just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.

The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.

Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.”

Review in 75 words or less:

I wasn’t sure what to make of this story. I liked the setting and wanted to know more about Kelsa’s world from the first pages. Kelsa is a sympathetic narrator who I felt drawn to, but once the action got going, I got lost. The mixture of science fiction, fairy tales, and Native American legends was confusing. I didn’t finish this one, but not because it was bad I was just a lazy reader. (74)

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