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Showing posts from November, 2010

How to Host a Teen Program with No Money

I have wanted to post about this forever, and am just now getting to it, so here goes.
We have a super tight budget at my library. I attended a seminar last year for "Teen Programs for Under 150 Dollars" and after I scraped myself off the floor (people are allowed to spend 150???) I realized how not having any money makes people more creative.

S0, without further ado, I present, Trivia Club.
The original game came from a most amazing YA librarian named Kathleen. I adopted it and adapted it, and now I pass it on to you.

To begin, split the kids into four teams. Give them a minute to name themselves something cooler than "team one" and "team two". Next, write the team names on a chalkboard.
The teams sit in specified sections of the room, pick a captain. Directly across from each team, across the room, should be an empty chair.

Now, pre-program, write four categories of questions that have only one answer, and a short answer at that. After you write the questions…

Review Stork by Wendy Delsol

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did, but this one is really great. I loved Kat's voice, the right blend of sarcasm and honesty. My favorite line was "She was old, BC old." Some of the lines were very clever and I found myself reading them over twice just to make sure I had caught them.
Originally the premise, I thought, was a little off-putting. A California transplant lands in Minnesota and becomes part of an ancient, secret society of "Storks" who help lost baby souls find vessels (birth moms). I promise you this is not as lame as it sounds. Instead, Delsol makes use of folklore and legends to really bring this to life. It reminded me of the masterful way Gaiman works with Viking legends. I was very interested the entire story (in fact, halfway through, I pulled the Snow Queen off the shelf and read it, in case it was important to the story-it wasn't but I was glad to read it anyway).
The best part of the story was the hero, t…

2010 Challenges

I tried two challenges this year. I know the year is not over yet, but I think it's time for a recap so I don't have to worry about it during the holidays.

I nailed the name challenge, albeit indirectly:
K- Keep Sweet by Greene
R- The Red Tree by Kiernan
I- Incarceron- Fisher
S- Ship Breaker by Bacigalupi
T-This Book is Overdue by Johnson
I- Inside Out- Snyder
E- 84, Charing Cross Road-Hanff

Even thought the "S" was supposed to be for Scorch Trials, when it came in and I started reading it, I knew I was in trouble because I was so lost. It had been a LONG time since I had read The Maze Runner.
At the same time, just once, I wanted to read all of the books nominated for the National Book Award, so I started on the nominees. I finished Ship Breaker, Lockdown and Mockingbird before I ran out of time. Then it hit me, Ship Breaker was an "S".
As for the challenge over at the Youth Services Corner, I think I may have to let that one go.
There is always 2011!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo snagged from
Happy Thanksgiving! Things I am thankful for: my family, my job, great books, fresh coffee, and the great blogs I read everyday. Thank you bloggers for all of your hard work. Some people read the newspaper everyday, I read blogs. It's a beautiful thing. When I was a kid, I imagined my self presenting in court (of course I was going to be a lawyer) wearing my jet pack and stylish anti-gravity boots in my silver mylar tunic dress. The future did not quite work out like that, but instead opened a world of people who love to read as much as I do (and for someone who is lacking that in real life, it is a blessing.) In addition, I am in the one place in town where I can run into the next generation of serious readers. I find them there and let them know: they are not alone. So three cheers to all of us who love a good book! I will raise a turkey leg in our honor later on today.Speaking of people who love books, we are looking at a great crop of newb…

2011 Debut Author Challenge

The Story Siren is thinking ahead and has opened the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. Looking at the list of upcoming books has gotten me really excited about 2011. Too bad that books we have already read that will be published in 2011 do not count, but I see several on the list that I could get into.
Now, to go pump up my Goodreads TBR list with some of these titles.

I noticed some bloggers are listing the books they plan to read for the challenge, and even though I set up a special Goodreads shelf (how did I live before Goodreads?) I want to keep a running list here for my reference. The plan is to link the titles when I finish them. Of course, I'm not holding myself to this list, but will instead be using it as a guide:

1. Choker-Woods (done)
3.Warped-Guibord (done)
4. Angelfire-Moulton (done)
5. Wither- DeStephano
6. Like Mandarin- Hubbard
7. XVI-Karr
8. Clarity-Harrington
9. Across the Universe-Revis (done)
10. Demon Trapper's Daughter-Oliver
11. Water Wars-Stratcher (done)
12. The Latte …

Beautiful Creatures By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I know everyone else in the world read this one awhile ago, and it did come in for me (3 times) at the library. I think I was put off by the size. Anyway, I have finished Beautiful Creatures.
It took the library getting it in ebook to do it. Two more bonus points for the ereader- I can't really "see" how big the book is, and no wrist strain from holding that bad boy over my head while I read in bed.
In this story, we have poor stuck Ethan and wild and crazy Lena. Mix in some Southern Gothic, some rabid cheerleaders, some creatures of the night and two pinches of sparkle. I liked the story. I liked Ethan. I loved Marian the Librarian. I did not love this book, and I didn't expect too. I thought it was good for a debut novel.
I had some problems, but they were minor. I was confused while reading: the wording was a little awkward and I was thrown out of the story. I am not the type to go through a novel with a fine tooth comb, I read for pleasure. However, I…

Homemade Christmas by Tina Barseghian

I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but for those of us who craft-it is actually a little late to start thinking about Christmas. This year is going to be a tight Christmas for a lot of families. In these terrible economic times, I see folks everyday at the library who are struggling to make ends meet, and the crush of the materialistic pressure of an American Christmas can kill someone's spirit faster than pee in the punchbowl. The upside of this kind of economy is the return of the simple life-focus on friends, family, and small, meaningful traditions.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of A Homemade Christmas, and this book is charming.
I have read hundreds of craft books, and many of them have been Christmas craft books, but this one is a complete guide to simple holiday traditions to make the holidays special. From decorating to gifts, all of the ideas in this book are 1. affordable and 2. simple. You do not need to be Martha Stewart to pull these ideas off…

Moster by Walter Dean Myers

I had to read Monster for library school, and I was blown away by this novel. There's parts of this story that will stay with me forever. Books such as this open up worlds that a reader may not be aware exist, or it may highlight a world that a reader knows all too well exists but no one writes about it. Steve Harmon is 16 and he is on trial for his life. He is accused of being a lookout in a robbery. The truth is Steve is scared, and to deal with the situation he has developed a coping mechanism of thinking about his life as a movie. The book reads like a screenplay. I feel this is a unique and effective trick to keep the reader tense, but not so involved they feel crushed by the weight of what is at stake here-Steve's future. Steve is kind of an everyteen, everyone should be able to identify with him. The people who surround him are rather complex, and life is like walking on eggshells for Steve. Without creating spoilers, I just want to say that I appreciated…

Two More End of the World Novels

Ah, end of the world fiction it used to be my favorite. Now I feel like a turkey-stuffed, not the good kind of full, but the "if I eat one more bite, I'm going to explode" full. I think I am ready to leave this lovely genre for a bit, and zombies-I have had enough of thee as well. Between Rot &Ruin, Zombies vs Unicorns, Autumn, and The Walking Dead on AMC, I am done. For a while. I sent back Handling the Undead without reading it.

But for those who are plugging along at the end of the world, may I recommend two titles that are must reads. Both deal with the IMMEDIATE reaction to a world ending event, but both are original and unique.
Noise reads like a manifesto for an organization that is readying itself for a world ending event. Now that the event has occured, two of the org's more serious members are following the plan, bullet point by bullet point. Whether it is recruiting, checking for messages, or restocking supplies, these guys are on the ball. This is such…