30 June 2011

Family Storms

Family Storms
V. C. Andrews
(ghostwriter, V. C. Andrews has been dead for some time now)
young adult/adult fiction

Family Storms by V. C. Andrews. V. C. Andrews has been dead for some time now, so this is ghostwritten. Sasha's life is at a low - she and her mother are homeless. It sinks lower when her mother is killed by a druggie driver. Her luck changes when she is taken in as a foster child, but rich families are not all they seem and the foster mother and sister both have sinister agendas...

I have not read any V. C. Andrews' books for a while. I was disappointed that this book was not as creepy as I had hoped. There was some secret/menacing stuff, but not as bad as the incest and other topics in previous works.

28 June 2011

13 Things You Pay For That Your Library Has For Free


"Obtaining a library card is simple. Visit the library, fill out a card application, present identification and you have instant, free access to a world of information".

22 June 2011

Kansas City Public Library Parking Garage

This is so cool! I am REALLY covetous!
I found out about this parking garage on an episode of Jeopardy! that had a picture of the parking garage as a clue for Kansas City.

17 June 2011

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Grace Lin
read by Janet Song
children's audio book on compact disc
Newbery Honor Winner for print version

Minli is the only daughter of a poor couple who work very hard to keep their family alive. They dream that one day their fortune will change. A peddler comes along promising that the goldfish that he sells can change their fortune. Minli, like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk takes this chance.
With advice from the goldfish she runs away to seek her fortune. On her adventures she encounters a dragon, cheerful twins, a king in disguise, and many other amazing people and beings.
This tale has a classic feel to it and portrays wonderment like the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Many tales are told within the longer story, so it is logical to stop listening to the tale in between the tales. This might help with the shorter attention span of children.
I greatly enjoyed this story and wonder how much is classic Chinese mythology and how much is original to this author. Either way, it is a good listen.

15 June 2011

Bluegrass @ the Library

Rubber Knife Gang

http://www.therubberknifegang.com/Friday, June 17
Live @ The Library
7:00 pm
Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY, USA (MAP)
Tickets: Buy tickets
Price Info: FREE


Why did the library patron slip on the library floor?
He was in the NONFRICTION section!


How many librarians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
I don't know but I can find out!

Association of Christian Librarians

Greetings from the 55th Annual Conference of the Association of Christian Librarians being held at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio!

13 June 2011

Words in the Dust

Words in the Dust
Trent Reedy
YA fiction

Inspired by events that happened to the author when he was stationed in Afghanistan this book is contemporary and highly readable. Zulaikha is an Afghan girl with a birth defect - a cleft lip. This makes eating and talking difficult for her, but most importantly, it affects her marriageability. She is mocked by the village boys and her family is not so sure what her future will hold. The American soldiers notice her one day and come up with a plan to have the American doctors help her. Will her dreams of a normal life come true? Is it too much for a poor girl to dream?

The author ties in all kinds of facts about current life in Afghanistan and references to the past that made the country what it is today. Another theme that runs throughout is the role of women in society, the love of poetry that Afghans have traditionally held, the aftermath of war, the lack of literacy among the young people, and many more discussable topics.

It reminds me of "Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind" but more up to date.

The publisher has included a glossary, which was very helpful. There were many words that the author used that were rather foreign. There is also a discussion with the author, a bibliography of other books about Afghanistan, and a note about the poetry that is referenced in the book.

This book deserves to go on a number of reading lists - books for teenaged girls, books about current events, books about the role of women, books about world culture, etc.

It is touching that the author says that the best person to write this would be an Afghan woman, but the literacy rate among females in that part of Afghanistan is only about 1 %. Heartbreaking! The author is donating money to a charity that supports the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan and there is also a link to a group that starts and runs schools for girls in central Asia.

Reading this book reminds me how grateful I need to be that I am an American woman instead of a poor, illiterate Afghani.

08 June 2011

Take Archway cookies to your next book discussion


Share the Goodness of reading with others. Help us donate 10,000 new books through First Book to children in need by purchasing Archway Cookies through July 9. Archway will donate $0.10 per package with a maximum of $23,500 in support of First Book.

We've all heard (and most likely experienced) that reading is core to a child's ability to succeed in school. Yet the majority of low-income families do not have a single book for their children, with price being the number one barrier to book ownership. Currently, more than 30 million U.S. children live in low-income households with many not having even one book of their own. You can help us ensure that every child can experience the joy of owning and reading a book.

Archway is partnering with First Book to donate 10,000 NEW books like the Cat in the Hat, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid to children who need them most.

You can help us reach our goal of providing 10,000 books to children in need with your purchase of Archway cookies from June 1 until July 15. Archway will donate $0.10 per package with a maximum of $23,500 in support of First Book.

First Book is a national nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give disadvantaged children the opportunity to read and own new books. First Book works with existing literacy programs to distribute new books to needy children by providing them with first books. The organization was founded in 1992 and since then over 80 million books have been donated.

07 June 2011

Can You Hear It?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Can You Hear It?
by William Lach
children's book plus music compact disc

We chose this book at random to listen to and read in the car. At first I was confused because there seemed to be a long blank leader segment before the music started. When it did start I expected to hear a narrator's voice and music to accompany classic artwork. Instead, it is only the music that corresponds to certain pages.
The book has an introduction to instruments in an orchestra and then shows artwork. Each of 12 pieces of art corresponds to a track number on the music disc. The book says things like "Can you hear the bumblebee? Can you see the bumblebee"? The "Flight of the Bumblebee" plays and the reader looks at the picture.
Once the seven year old in my car and I understood this, it was entertaining, but it took us a while to "get it".

I guess I don't recommend that libraries purchase this because other patrons may be confused as I was.

03 June 2011

Night Bookmobile

Night Bookmobile
Audrey Niffenegger
graphic novel

*For mature audiences*.

Follow Lexi in her creepy, haunting love affair with books and reading. The author says that this book was based upon some dreams she has had of books, reading, and bookmobiles.
As I read it, I was thinking "I would like THIS page to hang on my wall. No. How about THIS page! I could see a librarian decorating her cubicle or maybe her home bathroom walls with the pages of this book. It is a book for book lovers.

Here is the plot: Lexi loves books. She encounters the Night Bookmobile one night in her dreams (or maybe in reality). The bookmobile holds all of the books and papers and newspapers and magazines and school papers and cereal boxes that she has ever read. Oh, the delight of reading! Oh, the delight of remembering a good book!
I won't tell you more because I don't want to ruin the ending, but this book is a feast.

This is a good gift book and coffee table book for a librarian, teacher, English teacher, writer, etc.

Don't be surprised if your friends and family start calling you "Mr. Openshaw" in honor of the bookmobile librarian.

I hope I can get a sweatshirt or something with one of the pictures from the book on it.

02 June 2011

Sand Castle Bash!

Jon Scieszka's Sand Castle Bash! Counting from 1 to 10
Hunter McKown, David Shannon, Loren Long, and David Gordon.
board book.
ages 0-4.

This book features a supergroup of author/illustrators in a "git 'er done"! redneck sand castle building and SMASHING contest featuring Trucktown characters. Yee-haw! Boys and girls will love it (but maybe not Grandma)! Librarians might have to shush their excited readers. It is sandcastle building adventure, and best of all - knocking the castles down when done!

Fun! Fun! Fun!

I will have to rush to read the next adventure starting these active trucks.

Summer Touch and Feel

Summer Touch and Feel
Bright Baby Touch and Feel
board book ages 0-3

This is a pretty little book of summery illustrations and photographs, but I found that there wasn't enough "touch and feel" for a book that is supposed to be "touch and feel".

01 June 2011

Audiobooks and music for a family road trip

Time for summer vacation and time in the car with the family. What should we check out of the library that will entertain the little guy and grandma as well for that long stretch on the Great Western Plains or rounding the Smokey Mountains? The teenager will probably protest whatever you choose, but here is an attempt to please everyone:

I will keep working on this list, so let me know what to add to it:

*Peter, Paul and Mommy, Too - this is the album with Puff the Magic Dragon on it

*Beach Boys - which album?

*Treasury of the West by Time Life Books. Happy Trails to You, My Friend! There are a lot of other Time Life compilations that most libraries own as well.

*We Are America's Children by Ella Jenkins

*Beatles - which album?

*John Denver - which album?

*Forrest Gump the Soundtrack - It includes On the Road Again with Willie Nelson.

*Woodie Guthrie singing This Land Is Your Land. This is available on many albums.

*Readers Digest Presents. They have a number of compilation albums of your public domain favorites. I like that they don't have whiney kids singing, but really good (unknown) artists.

*The Very Best of Asleep at the Wheel Since 1970. How about some Western Swing music to keep your toes tapping!

*Stormy Weather sings Doo Wop and Lollipops: Doo Wop Classics for Kids

*Disney's the Little Mermaid by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Sorry, Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, you lose out to Ariel and Sebastian.

*Christmas sing-along car-i-oke [sound recording]. I know it isn't winter, but my library has only this one in the series. If your library doesn't have any "car-i-oke" sets, you might consider buying some for yourself. You can pass them along to another family later.

*The Johnny Cash Children's Album. Originally out in the 1970's, the CD has some extra cuts.

*Bernstein Conducts For Young People. I am not so sure this is available on CD, though.

*Lightning McQueen's Fast Tracks : Revved up Road Tunes Inspired by Disney Pixar Cars. This includes a cover of "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash. The Cars soundtrack is a "must listen" as well, but I have heard it so many times I am going with this alternative.

*Beach Boys - which album, hmmm...

*Jan and Dean singing Little Old Lady From Pasadena and Dead Man's Curve. These are available on many compilation albums.


*Peace in the Valley by Elvis Presley

*Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev. I bet your local library has at least one version of this. You can add Carnival of the Animals as well.

*Some poetry - something by Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelusky. How about Where the Sidewalk Ends?

*Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow Right! - the old album with the Noah routine and such.

*Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family may even send these for free. I think last time I checked it was send a "suggested donation".

*Chicken Soup for the ---Soul. Probably whatever title of this series is on the shelf should be good for the whole family.

*James Herriot's Favorite Dog Stories.

*Lux Radio Theatre Presents. Back in the days of radio they had movie stars present one hour versions of movies condensed for radio. There are some great ones in this series available to download.

*Think Ethnic by the Smothers Brothers. There is some English folk singing and jokes for the whole family.

*Car Talk: Doesn't Anyone Screen These Calls? : Calls about Animals and Cars.
Wait until you hear about the black widow!

*BBC full cast productions. If you have 3 or less people in the car and they are all over the age of about 12 then try out The Hobbit or some Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, The Odyssey, The Secret Garden, The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Who, or another in the series.

Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park or Lost World (for ages 10 +). Dinosaurs!

For more great albums see:


Spot's Toys

Spot's Toys
Eric Hill
board book
ages 0-4

Spot is a loveable, adorable, and playful puppy. He plays with his alligator and monkey friends until Mama dog tells him it is time for bed. These are books to cuddle up with and fall asleep on.

Spot books are good for vocabulary building.

These sturdy cardboard books would be a good set to give at a baby shower:
Spot's Snowy Day
Spot Loves His Friends
Spot Loves His Mommy
Spot's Toys

Libraries should also consider purchasing Spot DVD's for young viewers.

Beep Beep

Beep Beep
Petr Horacek
board book
ages 18 months - 4 years

I don't understand why someone would want to publish a book that looks like a 3rd grader did the artwork. What is so great about so-so art? According to his bio this author/illustrator is a highly trained artist, but this book looks like a grade school art project. I don't have much to say about the words, either. They are kind of an afterthought. Don't bother with this book.
Obviously the publishers at Candlewick Press disagree with me, but to each his own.


Vote Early and Often!

Which sticker gets your vote, Ohio?

Boys Don't Read, Except When They Do

Boys Don't Read, Except When They Do


Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles
Martha E. H. Rustad
Gail Saunders-Smith, consulting editor
children's fiction, ages 2-6

This is a colorful, simple book about sea turtles. Wonderful photography and easy to read fonts make this a great choice for early nonfiction reading. You will want to dive in with the turtles!
There is a word list and index, word count, and early intervention level (5) listings. There is a glossary, bibliography, and recommended internet sites list.

Others in the set are:
Corals, Crabs, Dolphins, Octopuses, Parrotfish, Rays, Sea Anemones, Sea Horses, Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, Seals, Sharks, and Whales. It is a good set to round out a children's nonfiction collection.

Wench: A Novel

Wench: A Novel
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
adult historical fiction

What an unusual idea for a book! The author calls upon oral history tales about slave owners taking their Black mistresses on vacation to Xenia Springs, Ohio to create a haunting historical fiction work. I think that the author and just about every possible reader will find this to be a fascinating idea to examine in light of the times in which it takes place (1830's - 1850's).
What psychological grip did the slave owners have on these women that they did not try to escape? What would the consequences be if they did try to leave? What would interactions with Freedmen be? What would the white Ohioans think? There are so many ideas to explore.
I don't want to ruin the plot for you, but it is a good one. If you would like to read this on vacation, you will be thanking your lucky stars that you are living in the here and now instead of back then as a slave woman.
Throughout the whole book I kept thinking "This was OHIO! This wasn't Kentucky or Mississippi or some other place? OHIO"! Incredible.

I found myself examining the poster that is reproduced inside of the front. There is picture of Tawawa House courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society. I would like to see the original poster. Sorry about this poor image.

Washington Post article

If your Ohio library does not already have some copies of this, encourage them to buy at least one. I would recommend it for a monthly book discussion.

Surrounded by Sea

Surrounded by Sea: Life on a New England Fishing Island
Gail Gibbons
children's nonfiction

Gail Gibbons has written tons of nonfiction children's books and it is easy to see why she is so popular. Her words and illustrations are matter of fact and vivid. There is lots to see and learn about fishing, lobster catching, boating, and island life in this pleasant book. For children who are interested in learning to draw wildlife, people, or vehicles this would be a good example to emulate.

My Hippo Has the Hiccups

My Hippo Has the Hiccups
Kenn Nesbitt and Ethan Long
children's poetry

book plus audio CD

I like goofy poetry and this book has it, but I tired of his poems after about 6 poems, however. They seem to not have quite the breadth and variety of other authors. I would probably like his work better as part of an anthology with other poets or maybe if there had been different guest readers on the CD.
The simple black and white cartoon drawings work well in the book.
It had a good layout with easy to read fonts and uncluttered pages.