Monday, December 20, 2010

Retro Book of the Week: The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children
By Gertrude Chandler Warner

Oh, the Boxcar Children. I read these when I was in elementary school, not even realizing that these books are waaaaaaay retro. 1941, to be exact. Warner originally dubbed these "the Alden Family Mysteries," but they have since been packaged as "The Boxcar Children." Though the other books in the series are mysteries, the first book is not really a mystery at all. It tells the story of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, four orphaned children who live in an abandonded boxcar in the woods. They believe their legal guardian, their grandfather, is a cruel man and they wish to fend for themselves in the woods rather than live with him. There really is no mystery in this first book, but it does develop the characters and set the stage for the rest of the series.

Of over 140 books, only the first nineteen in the series were written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, who died in 1979. All of the stories feature the four children as amature dectives, solving crimes whereever they go. I was surprised to learn that the original nineteen books are all set in the 1940's and 50's, with the children growing older over several years in time. However, the later books are set in the present day, with the children becoming frozen in time where they never get older (sort of like The Babysitter's Club, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys). If you're feeling nostalgic, check one out today @ your library!

[Retro Book of the Week celebrates the oldies-but-goodies in our media center. Books with faded covers can still have modern appeal! Sometimes I just want to celebrate the books that have influenced YA literature and my literary past, and sometimes I want to give new life to timeless classics. These features will be heavy on books from the 80's and 90's.]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I'm Reading Now: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by JK Rowling

I've read it before, but I'm reading it again. While this book and the whole series are always worth a reread on their own merit, I am rereading this one in particular for a different reason. I really want to go see the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I movie, but I am one of of those people who has to have the book fresh in my mind when I go to see the movie. I want to be able to make a comparison between what I read and what I'm watching. I know I'm not the only who has to do that. Is anyone else out there a "read the book before you see the movie" kind of person? If you need to reread Harry Potter, Twilight, or any other print-to-screen title, you can check 'em out today @your library!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver
by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry's 1993 Newberry Award winning book has become a modern classic for reading with young adults. It is a dystopian novel about a futuristic society run by sameness. Everyone dresses the same, has the same birthday, lives in family units that are the same, etc. At first this dystopia appears to be a utopia -- the Pleasantville-like society is pain-free, crime-free, and everyone has everything they need. However, this type of utopia comes with a price. Would you give up music, love, and emotions to be safe and orderly?

I read this book in the sixth grade, and I clearly remember thinking that our society was eerily similar to the community in the book. We go to school, we go to college, we get a job, we pay our taxes. We do what we are supposed to do. I thought this story was a cautionary tale about becoming drones in world and failing to recognize the beauty in the world, the good things in life.

I read this book in ninth grade and I remember fixating on the government in the story. This society is the result of socialism to the extreme. Socialism sounds great in theory, but is that how people are really supposed to live? How can one be an individual in such a society, and is that even necessary? I wanted to know how the government managed to take so much control over these people, and what had gone so bad in the world to make that necessary.

Now, as an adult, I am looking at this book in a different way. A fellow teacher just read the book and was inspired by it. She brought it back and felt that students need to read it. It's a book about standing up for what you know is right. The book makes readers wonder if they are a Jonas, challenging the status quo and looking for truth, or if they are more like the other members of the community. I had always seen the book as more political, but the conversations we've had about the novel recently have helped me see that the themes in the novel are applicable in so many situations.

If you've never read The Giver, I highly recommend the book as a must-read. If you have read it before, no matter how many times, I also recommend that you pick it up and read it again. What does it say to you at this point in your life? We've got a whole class set in stock, so check it out today @ your library.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Retro Book of the Week: A Light in the Attic

A Light in the Attic
by Shel Silverstein

Though technically a children's book more than a YA title, this 1981 collection of poems remains popular with teens. Of course, it's not just A Light in the Attic that they're after...they also love the poem collections in Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up. Kids love these books because they are silly poems written just for a young audience. Silverstein plays with words and makes us laugh, while focusing on topics that kids understand. There are poems about wanting a pony, dinosaurs, homework, messy rooms, annoying siblings, and funny creatures. For our students at the middle school level, this is literature that they feel comfortable with. Even if the poems are "technically" for an elementary school audience, anyone can find enjoyment in the stories and drawings found on each page.

Our media center copy of A Light in the Attic is so tattered and torn that I'm not sure it has much life left in it. But, alas, do not fear! I have ordered library-bound copies of both A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends with our most recent book order. In fact, we've ordered lots of modern, teen-friendly poetry books for our poetry section. So come check out A Light in the Attic @your library! 

[Retro Book of the Week celebrates the oldies-but-goodies in our media center. Books with faded covers can still have modern appeal! Sometimes I just want to celebrate the books that have influenced YA literature and my literary past, and sometimes I want to give new life to timeless classics. These features will be heavy on books from the 80's and 90's.]

Monday, December 6, 2010

Retro Book of the Week: Kristy's Great Idea

Kristy's Great Idea
by Ann M. Martin 

If you were a teen or tween in the 80's or 90's, you know all about the Baby-Sitter's Club. Love 'em or hate 'em, these girls will go down in series fiction history. Kristy's Great Idea is the first novel in the 213-novel series. In this book, Kristy comes up with the idea to run a babysitting club in her neighborhood to help parents reach many babysitters with one phone call. Kristy, a softball playing tomboy, is the president of the club. Her shy, sensitive, bookish best friend, Mary Anne, is the secretary. The artisitic, junk-food loving Claudia gets to be the vice president because the meetings are held in her room (she has her own phone line). And Stacey, the super-stylish new girl from New York, is elected treasurer because she is great at math.

This BSC novel is a classic because it sets the whole series in motion. Readers get to meet some of the classic BSC clients. There is also some awesome fashion (baggy lavender plaid overalls, anyone?). However, the BSC is not going away any time soon! The series is currently being reissued. The original yellow cover was replaced with a pink cover in the late 1990's, but starting this year the series has undergone a serious makeover. The updated covers are in stores now. The first five books have also been made into graphic novels by Raina Telegmeier, author of Smile. We have a whole shelf of BSC books here at MSMS. Take a walk down memory lane or check one out for the first time @ your library!

[Retro Book of the Week celebrates the oldies-but-goodies in our media center. Books with faded covers can still have modern appeal! Sometimes I just want to celebrate the books that have influenced YA literature and my literary past, and sometimes I want to give new life to timeless classics. These features will be heavy on books from the 80's and 90's.]

Friday, December 3, 2010

Real Life Quidditch?

We all know that Harry Potter has been a world-phenomenon for over ten years. The first generation of Potter fans are now in college, and I have heard about local universities that have Quidditch teams as a club sport. If you are like me, you have wondered how on earth Quidditch translates from the literary, fictional world to a muggle sports field. Without broomsticks, magical snitches, and flying bludgers how can one play the game? Leave it to crafty college students to figure it out. Over 200 universities have Quidditch teams, and the 4th Annual Quidditch World Cup was played this year at the University of Michigan. To see a great explaination of exactly how the game is played, watch the video below (note: I apologize, but there is a short ad at the beginning):

If you need a refresher on the rules of Quidditch, visit the Quidditch page on Wikipedia. And, as always, you can check out Harry Potter books @ your library!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I'm Reading Now

K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
by Ed Viesturs

This book is a rare thing for me -- I am rereading a book! I will start by saying I am not a mountaineer. I'm not even a hiker. But I am discovering that my new favorite genre in non-fiction is mountaineering books. This book is about K2, the second highest mountain in the world (the first highest is Mt. Everest). Climbing on very tall mountains is hard work, and very dangerous. The air is very thin, making it difficult to breathe. Avalanches, sudden storms, and falls are a constant threat. Mountaineering books are real-life adventure stories.

This particular book is written to tell the mountaineering history of this mountain, which is one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. Viesturs tells about expeditions in 1938, 1939, 1953, 1954, 1986, 1992, and 2008 -- seven of the most interesting years in K2's history. There are stories of heroic acts, survival, tragedy, beautiful scenery, amazing accomplishments, and of catty drama among teammates as they spend months together in tiny little tents. I highly recommend this book to all armchair mountaineers like myself, those of us who like reading adventure stories from the safety of our own homes.

I also want to suggest a Battle of the Books book that is a good read-along title. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Save the World...One Child at a Time by Greg Mortenson is also a non-fiction book. The book starts with Mr. Mortenson wandering around Pakistan, where he got lost after an attempt at climbing K2. The people of the small villiage of Korphe take him in, and he realizes that they have no school for their children. Mr. Mortenson devotes his life (and all of his money!) to building schools for the children of Korphe and other villiages around Pakistan and Afganistan. I am about 1/2 way through this book, and I have to say I feel inspired by Mortenson's altruism and his big heart. This is a great read for our celebration of Mulicultural Month here in the media center! We have multiple copies of Three Cups of Tea ...check it out today @your library.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December's Featured Books: Cultures Around the World

For the month of December, we are featuring books about Cultures Around the World. These are books about either main characters living in another country or characters who are from another country but living in America. We've got books about Bollywood, Quinceneras, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, African adventures, and the Amazon River...and many more! Our sixth and seventh grade social studies curriculum focus on the many cultures of the world, so these books are a great extension of that curriculum. These books will be on display until after the holiday break, so check one out today @ your library!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Retro Book of the Week: The Outsiders

The Outsiders
by SE Hinton

The Outsiders is considered by some to be the first real young adult book out there. This is the story of Pony Boy, a Greaser living in Tulsa in 1965. The central conflict in the book is between the Greasers and the Socs. Soc is short for Social, and the Socs are a gang of wealthy, privledged kids that like to fight with the Greasers.

Though this book is forty years old, it is still popular because the themes are timeless. The Outsiders is read by seventh graders across Forsyth County, and it is on this year's Battle of the Books list. I can't tell you how many students I've had checking this book out again and again, it really is a favorite at our school. If you are interested in reading this book for the first time, or revisiting your teen years with a walk down literary memory lane, come check this one out @your library!

[Retro Book of the Week celebrates the oldies-but-goodies in our media center. Books with faded covers can still have modern appeal! Sometimes I just want to celebrate the books that have influenced YA literature and my literary past, and sometimes I want to give new life to timeless classics. These features will be heavy on books from the 80's and 90's.]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Retro Book of the Week: The Silver Kiss

The Silver Kiss
by Annette Curtis Klause

This book, published in 1990, is the Twilight of the early 1990's. Zoe, a lost and lonely teenager, has a mother who is dying from cancer. Home alone while her parents are at hospital, Zoe wanders around town and meets Simon. Simon is a vampire, and Zoe is intrigued by him as she persues a relationship with the mysterious, silver-haired boy. This is a vampire novel with substance, and it is far more than a romance novel. It is a beautifully written novel about life and death with well-developed characters, and it is well worth a read for both regular vampire-fanatics and those that may be critical of the genre.

The Silver Kiss was moderately popular in the early nineties, but has experienced a second wave of popularity with the Twilight-infused vampire craze of the past few years. The original cover feels more true to the story -- -soft and romantic, but also quite sad. However, the most recent cover was released to grab the attention of Twilight fans with the red, black, and white color scheme. If you aren interested in this retro book, we still have it on the shelf! Check it out today @your library.

[Retro Book of the Week celebrates the oldies-but-goodies in our media center. Books with faded covers can still have modern appeal! Sometimes I just want to celebrate the books that have influenced YA literature and my literary past, and sometimes I want to give new life to timeless classics. These features will be heavy on books from the 80's and 90's.]

Friday, November 19, 2010

What I'm Reading This Weekend

This weekend I plan to sit down and read The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I'm already a few chapters in, so I know what I'm getting myself into. This is the story of Thomas, a boy who has been dropped in a place called The Glade with no memory of how or why he's there. There are other boys at The Glade, some who have been there a very long time time. The Gladers have their own society and their own procedures, but everything revolves around The Maze. The Maze is a character in itself, the enemy of the boys as they try to figure out why they are in The Glade and how to get out.

I'm excited about this book because it is a dystopian novel -- my favorite genre. Part Sci-Fi, part Lord of the Flies, I don't think I'll be able to put it down once I start. We also own a copy here at MSMS, so check it out today @your library!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Historical Fiction: Three BOB Books

Continuing with our historical fiction theme, here are three of this year's Battle of the Books titles that you can check out. We have lots of students reading these titles right now to prepare for our competition this March. I'm particularly excited about these three because two of them are by great authors (Karen Hesse and Avi) and the third looks like an interesting concept that takes readers through multiple eras of US History. Check them out today @your library!

The Brooklyn Nine: A Novel in Nine Innings
by Alan Gatz

This book tells the stories of nine generations of an immigrant family living in New York. Each story is loosely connected, but all are deeply rooted in the history of baseball and American History. Historical times periods include the Civil War, the Vaudeville era, the Roaring Twenties, the Negro Leagues, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Sputnik, and the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Out of the Dust
by Karen Hesse

Billie Joe is a teenaged girl who lives with her mother and father on a wheat farm that has been ravaged by the constant dust storms of the dust bowl in Oklahama in 1934-1935.

Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor and the Merimac

by Avi

Tom's job as an assistant to Captain John Ericsson, the inventor of the Monitor, makes him a target of Confederate spies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Geektastic:Stories from the Nerd Herd

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castelucci

I am not typically a reader of short story collections, but I immediately knew I had to read this collection. I ordered this book with my last big book order because the reviews were great and it seemed like a fun book. When the book came in, I was actually able to see the list of contributing authors on the front of the book and I was hooked. Where else can you find a book that combines the topic of geekiness AND fabulous YA authors suchs a Libba Bray, John Green, Wendy Mass, David Levithan, Garth Nix, and MT Anderson? As a self-professed geek I could not deny my curiosity, so I had to read the book.

I was not disappointed. This is one of the best books I have read this year. All aspects of geekiness are covered in these pages -- band nerds, quiz bowl geeks, Role Playing Games (RPGs), conventions, stormtroopers, LARPing, Star Wars vs Star Trek, sci-fi, Dungeons and Dragons, comic books, Buffy, paleontology, drama geeks, astronauts, Rocky Horror, and so on. I guess I'm not geeky enough to know a whole lot about many of these geekdoms, but I enjoyed the overall geek-tasticness of reading about other geeks of all kinds. Though some of the stories were a little slow, most of the stories were perfect for getting a quick read in at lunch. I realized that the great thing about short stories is that they can be completed in one sitting!

My favorite stories in the book were "I Never" by Cassandra Clare, "Quiz Bowl Antichrist" by David Levithan, and "The Stars at the Finish Line" by Wendy Mass, and "It's Just a Jump to the Left" by Libba Bray. This is definitely a book that I have purchased and added to my personal collection. It is a book I can see myself re-reading. Apparently the MSMS students feel the same way, because I can barely keep it on the shelf! Check out this book and other short story collections @your library!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teens' Top 10

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the ALA just announced that the votes are in for the 2010 Teens' Top 10 book list. We have most of these either in the library or on their way with our most recent book order. Here's the list:

  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is what teens are reading this year. Check these out and more @your library.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hated Characters?

I just read this post at the Library Science Degree blog about the 50 most hated characters in literary history, and I had to share. It made me laugh that Karen Brewer (from the Babysitters Club)was above Voldemort on the list, but I will have to say I've heard similar things about all of these character before! Here are some highlights:

1.) Bella Swan and Edward Cullen
The Twilight series
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Sure Twilight has somehow attracted a legion of fans (some surprisingly sane), but a significant amount of people despise the idealized central couple as well. Hardly surprising, considering the 2 share a vomitously unhealthy, co-dependent and emotionally abusive relationship packaged and sold as romantic. Do couples counselors not exist in the Meyerverse?

9.) Dolores Umbridge
The Harry Potter series
Author: J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter fans almost collectively despise the froglike visage, commanding, controlling actions and questionable (at best) ethics of Hogwarts’ temporary Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

15.) Karen Brewer
The Babysitter’s Club series
Author: Ann M. Martin
Ann M. Martin thought that Kristy Thomas’ little stepsister Karen would endear readers with her precociousness. Yeah, no. She irritated them with her insufferable brattiness instead.

27.) Voldemort
The Harry Potter series
Author: J.K. Rowling
Deliciously evil, Voldemort pulled from traditional villain archetypes and became an instant classic that Harry Potter love to hate.

29.) Big Brother
Author: George Orwell
Although a metaphor for a totalitarian government rather than an actual person, the citizens of dystopian Oceania considered it as such. Agents of Big Brother were literally able to get inside the populace’s heads and convict them for merely thinking against the collective.

33.) Beth March
Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Contemporary audiences find the archetype of the overly pious, good woman 1-dimensional and completely boring. Suffice to say, Beth March and her quiet perfection land her a spot on more than a few “most hated literary characters” list.

34.) Napoleon
Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell George Orwell used Joseph Stalin as the basis for the pig Napoleon, who manipulates his fellow farm animals into revolting – only to turn their efforts into a mere stepping stone for his own selfish ends.

36.) Romeo Montague
Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare
Oftentimes depicted as the ultimate romance, many contemporary readers think of Romeo as a detestable young man who breaks a young woman’s heart in order to pursue Juliet. The 2 end up committing suicide because of their dueling families and lack of perspective, but many readers place the brunt of the blame on Romeo’s insensitive treatment of Rosaline.

43.) Robert Langdon
Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code andThe Lost Symbol
Author: Dan Brown
Historical and religious inaccuracies aside, one of the biggest complaints that readers had against Robert Langdon is his veritable Mary Sue status. The man can do no wrong and has no discernable flaws, making him exceptionally boring and frustrating to read about.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Historical Fiction Month

November is Historical Fiction month here in the media center. We will have historical fiction on display all month. This includes the books on the tops of the shelves and on the top shelf of each of the tall shelves. These books are on display so YOU can check them out, so take one home with you today!

I will admit that historical fiction is not usually my favorite genre, but even I found several items that caught my eye while pulling books. Don't worry though, I won't take them until after November! Check 'em out @your library!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What I'm Reading Now

Going with the historical fiction theme for November, I'm almost finished with The Season by Sarah MacLean. Alexandra, the daughter of the Duke and Dutchess of Worthington, is a strong female character who discovers a mystery during her "coming out" season in British society. Alex does not want to court or marry because she feels men will not appreciate her intellect, but she meets a gentleman who gives her a run for her money. I would consider this book a sort of Pride and Prejudice for the younger set, filled with mystery, romance, glamour, and humor!

I've just started the first book in the Gallagher Girls series (because a student finally turned it back in), I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter and so far I'm hooked. I love Harry Potter, and this series reminds me a lot of of Harry Potter -- just with girls and spies. The smartest girls from across the country are picked to attend this super-elite, beautiful boarding school where special classes teach them the skills to work in covert operations. Of course, we are still dealing with teenage girls here, so friendships, crushes, romance, and drama still fill the halls. However, I love the strong female characters and the message that it is cool to be smart. I'm 30 pages in and hooked!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Scary Books!

Our genre for October is SCARY BOOKS and we just got a whole lot of new scary books from our very successful Scholastic Book Fair! And now the scary books are easier to find than ever -- not only are they on display all month, but each scary book has a "Scary" sticker on the spine so you can easily find them all year round. Check these out and more @your library!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Battle of the Books Read-Alikes

Today's features come from the Battle of the Books list for 2010-2011. I read these three books over the summer, and each of them immediately brought to mind other popular Young Adult books that you may have read. I'll give you a short description of the book and the read-alike title it is reminiscent of. It's your job to come down and check these out @your library!

Truesight by David Stahler, Jr.

In a futuristic society where everyone is blind, what happens if you start to see? This book reminded me of The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Schooled by Gordon Korman

After living on a hippie commune for his whole life, Capricorn Anderson has to attend public middle school. Reminded me of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Four very different, and very quirky, kids are recruited to help with a top secret mission to save the world. This is a fun book filled with puzzles and brain teasers that can be solved right along with the characters. Reminded me of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Have YOU read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? Forget Harry Potter and Twilight, these are the books you need to be reading. I have yet to find someone who hasn't loved the first book, and I'm fairly certain all of my friends devoured each book.

The main character in the series is a strong-willed girl named Katniss who lives in District 12 of Panem. Every year two teens, a boy and a girl, are selected from each district to compete in the Hunger Games, a nationally televised event much like Survivor. However, in this game the kids don't just get voted off the island -- they must fight to the death. The Hunger Games and its sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, are futuristic adventures that will keep you turning pages!

What I love about this series is that it doesn't treat teen readers like children. The topics are very heavy and quite mature. I also believe these are not "boy books" or a "girl books"...either gender could identify with Katniss. There's action, suspense, politics, romance, and just so much packed into each book. I highly recommend this series to everyone, young and old. Come check it out @your library!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Books!

Raven Speak by Diane Lee Wilson

During a prolonged winter, Jorgen, the wise man, has sent clansmen—including Asa’s father, the chieftain—to sea in search of food. Asa believes that Jorgen is treacherous and that he likely led her father to his death. Fleeing for safety, Asa meets Wenda, a one-eyed witch who promises to help Asa save her clan. Asa is loath to trust Wenda, but with Jorgen threatening her family, she may have no choice.

Athena, Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O'Connor

From the moment she emerged, fully grown, from the head of Zeus, Athena was one of the most complex Olympians. This graphic novel retells her many interwoven tales: how she killed Pallas, fought the Gigantes, aided Perseus, and cursed Arachne. Author’s note. Endnotes. Bibliography. Further reading. Discussion questions. Fullcolor illustrations.

Monday, April 12, 2010


It's going to be an exciting week here in the media center! The 8th grade students are back from their trip to the swamp, and we are ready to start the 8th grade research paper. Our topic is the novel The Weirdo, which all 8th grade students have just finished reading. Students will get to pick any topic from the novel that they would like to research, from hypnosis to black bears to swamp ecosystems.

The Quest team will start the project today, and the Phoenix team will start on Thursday -- I'm quite interested to see this big research project from start to finish!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Pranks are a long standing tradition at boarding schools, and Alabaster Prep is no exception. You wouldn't think that a secret society called The Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds could cause any real hoop-la on campus...and you'd be right. Until Frankie Landau-Banks arrives for her sophomore year, having grown into a beautiful young woman over the summer. Frankie wants nothing more than to be in The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, but she can't. She's a girl.

Could a girl come up with a plot to hang bras all over campus in the middle of the night? Could a girl mastermind the Doggies in the Window prank? Could a girl organize the Canned Beet rebellion to protest the digusting and inedible cafeteria food? And how on earth could a girl be responsible for throwing a thousand pound guppy statue in the lake? The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds certainly don't think so, especially Frankie's new boyfriend, who is a member.

Frankie Landau Banks will not sit and watch the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds pass her by just because she is a girl. They don't even see it coming, but the joke is about to be on them...

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks is more than just a book with a feminist edge. It is a book that will make you laugh because panks are ridiculous and Frankie has a great sense of humor. Frankie is a very realistic main character, even though sometimes you want to shake her and say, "don't do it!" If you are looking for a good book, a good character, and a good laugh, The Disreputable History is for you.

The Third Eye by Lois Duncan

I decided to read this book over the weekend, mostly because we do have a class set of it here in the media center and I have always liked Lois Duncan books. Lois Duncan writes suspense novels for young adults, and this book was full of suspense!
The story centers around Karen, a high school senior who has visions she doesn't understand. Karen loves children. She earns money by babysitting and working at a local daycare center. However, her visions are always about children. Trapped children, drowning children...and missing children. Can Karen use her visions to help these children, or is it all too much for her to bear?
If you like a story with suspense and mystery, this is the story for you. Of course, there is a little bit of romance as well. I found this book to be a quick read -- once I started, I couldn't put it down! I give it four stars.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The dance classes have been hard at work this week creating glogs. What is a glog? A glog is a digital poster. You can post photos, digital sticker, text, decorations, and links on a topic for other students to read. With our new Netbooks, we can even add video clips and audio clips instantly. Mrs. Cook's 7th grade students have been working on glogs about famous choreographers, and the 8th graders have been hard at work over glogs on rights issues.

I have learned a lot during this project. For example, did you know that there is a Chinese Deaf Dance team? Their dances are beautiful, and they do them without being able to hear the music. I also learn about cat's rights, children's rights, prisoner's rights, and animal rights. I even made my own glog on a big library issue -- intellectual freedom. You can check out my glog here .

I also found some other library related glogs that you can look at:

A Great and Terrible Beauty (a wonderful book that we just added to our collection)

Locked in Time (a Lois Duncan thriller)

Twilight (need I say more?)

Coraline (a very weall-done glog)

Max: A Maximum Ride Novel (I love this series, and it is a favorite of our students')

And you can always try your hand at your own glog by signing up at .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Books

We just got four new books in from Junior Library Guild. All the new books are on display at the circulation desk -- check one out today!

They Never Came Back
by Caroline B. Cooney

Years ago, Tommy's cousin, Murielle, disappeared. Then one day during summer school, he thinks he sees her across the cafeteria. But the girl-a dead ringer for his cousin-insists her name is Cathy. Tommy reluctantly believes her. His parents, when they meet her, suspect she's lying.

For Keeps
by Natasha Friend

Josie has never met her dad, and that's fine with her. To Josie, Paul Tucci is just a guy who got her mom pregnant and then moved away. It all happened sixteen years ago, when Josie's mom was still a teenager herself. But now Paul Tucci is back in town, and Josie has to deal with not one but two men in her life-her father and her first boyfriend, who Josie fears will hurt her just like Paul hurt her mother.

by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mike Cavallaro

Aliera is a star at fencing, but at school no one notices her-until her new lab partner Avery begins flirting with her. Aliera's mother just bought her a foil from a garage sale, and it has a strange jewel attached to the hilt. Will Aliera's first date be ruined when magical creatures try to steal her foil?

Written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi
Copper and his dog, Fred, go mountain climbing, surfing, and walking through landscapes fantastic and familiar-all while keeping up a wry, humorous banter. When at one point an odd creature Fred tried to befriend runs away, Fred laments, "I guess I'll just have to deal with the fact that I have no friends." "You and me both," says Copper.

(All photos and annotations courtesy of Junior Library Guild, at