Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller - Sarah Miller

If you haven't read a book about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan before, I think this is a good book to read to learn about them. It's interesting and thought provoking. How does one learn, and what is it that makes things click?

I, however, read this hoping to find a different sort of story about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan because this was not my first Helen Keller story. But while it was well done, I found it to be the same story I already knew with little additional information, so for me it was just an okay story.

It was interesting that it was told from the point of view of Annie, and I thought the author did a pretty good job of getting inside her head. I was a little disturbed, as a teacher, by her methods, but she had no training and was just trying the best she could, and, in the end, it worked and worked out...but I still wish she'd had some other strategies to use.

This book is available at the WOMS library, although I think you'll have to put it on hold because I'm pretty sure it's checked out.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Big Boned - Meg Cabot

This is the third in a funny light adult mystery series (a la Janet Evanovich) about the former pop rock star turned assistant dorm director turned detective, Heather Wells. I found out right after I read this that Meg Cabot herself used to be a dorm director of some sort herself, so perhaps that was her inspiration. Hopefully the dorm she worked in was slightly less deadly, however. In each installment of this series someone has died, mysteriously of course, in the dorm, and Heather has been at the center of figuring it all out. The mysteries in this series are not very deep or complex, but I enjoy them. Meg Cabot is one write who has the ability to write across the ages, and it's pretty impressive that she does it well consistently.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coraline movie sneak preview

Nail Gaiman's book Coraline is going to be a movie sometime soon, and in 3D no less. I think it could be pretty creepy cuz that book is pretty creepy. But if you'd like to see a short preview, check out this link to a YouTube video (only if your parents say it's ok for you to go to YouTube). No promises on how long it will be live, though.


And if you haven't read the book yet, I'd highly recommend it. Even kids who don't like to read very much usually enjoy this one!


Mississippi Jack - L.A. Meyer

Fans of the Bloody Jack series will love this new one, just like you've loved all the other ones, although I have to say I personally am ready for a few things to change. Let me know what you think they might be if you read this one.

In this story Jacky Faber, is back as a ship's captain, albeit a smaller ship and one she got sort of underhandedly like another time I can think of, but this time instead of frolicking on the roiling seas, she's floating down the Mississippi River.

(As an aside - how many of you remember the great feeling of accomplishment you got when you learned to spell "Mississippi"?)

As usual, Jacky has all kinds of wild times on the water. There's excitement and danger and dastardly deeds along with hilarity and kindness and a few stolen kisses. Plus, as with every pirate novel, there's a little swearing, so if your parents would rather you not read books with any swearing in them, this is not the choice for you.

Arrrrrgh, mateys.

The Art of Detection - Laurie R. King

This author one of my favorite adult mystery writers, and in this new novel she actually sort of combines two of her series. One series she writes is about a smart female San Francisco police detective, and one series is about Sherlock Holmes in his later years. This book is a modern day mystery set in San Francisco with the female detective, and the person who's been murdered is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic (dare I say freak!?). This guy's whole first floor of his house has been re-created to look like Sherlock Holmes' house, and he belongs to a club of other Holmes aficionados who get together monthly for Holmes dinners. His job is, well I guess was, to buy and sell Holmes memorabilia for other collectors. And just before he dies he finds something he thinks might be very special. It's a manuscript that just might be an actual Holmes piece. If so, it's worth a LOT of money.

King includes the whole Holmes story , in a different font so as not to confuse the reader, in this novel, and it's very well done

I really enjoyed this mystery and would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This looks like fun

Lovers of mysteries, check out this site!


This brand-new series for teens chronicles the adventures of Echo Shaw, a modern Nancy Drew who uses her love of riddles to solve some very puzzling mysteries. Fun, intelligent storytelling from author Amy Alexander.

Who is Echo Shaw?

Sixteen-year-old Echo Shaw lives in Denver, Colorado. She's like any other teenager, with a few exceptions: 1) Her dad's an Intelligence Research Specialist for the DEA, 2) Her new stepmom used to be a Vegas showgirl, and 3) She's just been roped into working as a counselor at a Canadian summer camp. Oh, and her life might be in danger...

Take a look!

Good Masters, Sweet Ladies - Schlitz

This is the Newbery winner for this year and what a delight to read! It is a very quick read, almost like a picture book even. Many people actually were discussing this book before the awards were given out as a possibility, but most people thought it had too many illustrations, so the committee wouldn't pick it. But they did, and I think it is a really great choice.

The story is a series of short vignettes written to be performed, actually, but certainly they don't need to be performed. Each little vignette takes one character from a fictional medieval town and tells a little piece of his or her story. The stories are interwoven a little bit, but can certainly stand alone. The author also intersperses lots of footnotes - sidenotes in this case, really - explaining medieval terms and roles, which I found to be very helpful. And she has four or five short sections that are non-fiction interwoven into the text as well. Plus there are the awesome illustrations done by Robert Byrd.

This book was written by a school librarian who had students who were really into their study of the Middle Ages. She wanted to write a play for them, but non one wanted a small part so this was what she came up with! SO much fun!

I've ordered it for the WOMS library, but in the meantime, it's available at Multnomah County Libraries. Happy reading!

Award Winners Announced :)

This is a long one, but it has all the awesome new award books listed - the awards were just given out on Monday! Happy Reading - I know I have a lot of new titles on my TO-READ list, that's for sure. :)

The following is a list of all ALA Youth Media Awards for 2008:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature.
“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” written by Laura Amy Schlitz, is the 2008 Newbery Medal winner.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named:
“Elijah of Buxton,” by Christopher Paul Curtis
“The Wednesday Wars,” by Gary D. Schmidt
“Feathers,” by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Putnam.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.
“The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” illustrated by Brian Selznick

Four Caldecott Honor Books were named:
“Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine
“First the Egg,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
“The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” illustrated and written by Peter Sís
“Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity,” illustrated and written by Mo Willems

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.
“The White Darkness,” by Geraldine McCaughrean

Four Printz Honor Books were named:
“Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet,” by Elizabeth Knox
“One Whole and Perfect Day,” by Judith Clarke
“Repossessed,” by A. M. Jenkins
“Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath,” by Stephanie Hemphill

Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.
“Elijah of Buxton,” written by Christopher Paul Curtis, is the King Author Book winner.

Two King Author Honor Books were selected:
“November Blues,” by Sharon M. Draper
“Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali,” written by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier

“Let it Shine,” illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan, is the King Illustrator Book winner.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award;
“Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It,” written by Sundee T. Frazier
Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
“Kami and the Yaks,” written by Andrea Stenn Stryer, illustrated by Bert Dodson wins the award for young children (age 0 to 10).
“Reaching for Sun,” by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer is the winner in the middle grades category (age 11-13).
“Hurt Go Happy,” written by Ginny Rorby is the winner in the teen category (age 13-18).

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.

Orson Scott Card is the recipient of the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his outstanding lifetime contribution to writing for teens for his novels “Ender's Game” and “Ender's Shadow.”

The Pura Belpré Award honoring Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children's books.
Yuyi Morales, illustrator of “Los Gatos Black on Halloween,” written by Marisa is the winner of the 2008 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.
Margarita Engle, author of “The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano,” illustrated by Sean Qualls is the 2008 Pura Belpré Author Award recipient.

Three Pura Belpré Author Honor Books were named:
“Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life!” by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
“Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale,” retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael
“Los Gatos Black on Halloween,” written by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales and published by Holt.

Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children.
“The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” written and illustrated by Peter Sís, is the 2008 Sibert Award winner.

Two Sibert Honor Books were named:
“Lightship,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca
“Nic Bishop Spiders,” written and illustrated by Nic Bishop

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children's book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States.
“Brave Story” is the winner of the 2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Award. Originally published in Japanese in 2003 as “Bureibu Sutori,” the book was written by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Alexander O. Smith.

Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected:
“The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity,” originally published in German as “Die Katze,” “Nicholas and the Gang,” originally published in French as “Le petit Nicolas et les copains.”

The first-ever Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production is Live Oak Media for “Jazz.”

Five Odyssey honor titles were named:
“Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary 'Jacky' Faber, Ship's Boy”
“Dooby Dooby Mo,”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”
“Skulduggery Pleasant”
“Treasure Island”

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences
“American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China,” by Matthew Polly,
“Bad Monkeys,” by Matt Ruff
“Essex County Volume 1: Tales from the Farm,” by Jeff Lemire,
“Genghis: Birth of an Empire,” by Conn Iggulden
“The God of Animals,” by Aryn Kyle
“A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” by Ishmael Beah, “Mister Pip,” by Lloyd Jones
“The Name of the Wind,” by Patrick Rothfuss
“The Night Birds,” by Thomas Maltman
“The Spellman Files,” by Lisa Lutz

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

ALA awards being announced next week!

Wow, the ALA awards, the big ones like the Newbery, the Caldecott, the Printz, the Pura Belpré, and many more sort of snuck up on me this year. they're already being announced next week. I'm pretty excited about it, but I went trolling through all kinds of blogs tonight looking to see what people have predicted will win, and I've hardly read ANY of them. It's a little frightening. I mean, I'm supposed to be on the forefront of children's and YA lit, and I haven't even read the top candidates of the year? I haven't even HEARD of some of them. Yikes. Needless to say, my hold list at the public library got pretty huge tonight. 28 requests currently...

The good news is, many of the favorites I read about won't win either. The hubbub after the awards is actually usually a lot of fun to read, too. All these librarians and book people going, WHAT??? Who picked THAT book??? They should have picked THIS book!!!! It's pretty funny. Anyway, I'll post all the award books as soon as I hear what they are, and I'll be ordering them for our library, too, so you can be on the forefront of children's and YA lit even if your librarian is a little behind :)

I'm off to read something before I go to sleep. I've got a lot of things to get through...

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy - Ally Carter

The good news is, this is an awesome series. The bad news is, I came to it a little too early. I'm the kind of person who reads a LOT of books (in case you hadn't noticed) and when I find a great series I like to zoom through the whole lot of them. But that's a little tricky to do when the author HASN'T ACTUALLY WRITTEN THEM YET....

Anyway, this is the sequel to I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You, and both of these books are loads of fun. Cami, the main character, goes to spy school, which is pretty much like going to West Orient Middle School, minus all the top secret spy gadgets and wild situations, of course.

Cami and her friends have a lot of exciting adventures, particularly when the boys arrive this year...see it's an ALL GIRLS spy school Cami attends, and when the boys arrive, things change just a teensy bit.

Both stories in the series are hilarious and all around great reads for both boys and girls because while the main character is a girl, all the cool spy stuff will appeal to boys and girls. I highly recommend them and I can't wait for the third one to come out!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac - Gabrielle Zevin

Sounds like it would be a pretty short book, doesn't it? Get it? MEMOIRS of someone with no memory? Quite an interesting pretense for a book, and one that I really enjoyed. Naomi, resident amensiac, takes a fall down the stairs of her school, and when she comes to she doesn't remember anything for about the past four years, including her boyfriend, her best friend, the fact that her parents are divorced, her very young baby sister....Things before then she remembers, but after that, nothing. I think that would be a pretty strange and disconcerting thing to have happen. It would seem like all the safety you sort of take for granted just in knowing who you are would be stripped away and that would be pretty hard to deal with.

Which is pretty much how it turns out. Naomi faces a lot of struggles in her re-engagement with life. Some things work out really well for her, and others not so great.

I found this book to be funny, surprising but also sometimes predictable, heartbreaking, and really thought provoking. Who would you become if you had it do all over again starting today?

I listened to this on my iPod and I really liked the reading of this novel. I got it at the Multnomah County Library.