Monday, February 28, 2011


Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Scott Dawson.  Grades 2-5.  Dutton Children's Books, 2010.  Reviewed from library copy.

In those days it was pretty tough to be a girl.  You had to follow the rules.  You couldn't speak your mind.  You had to ask permission... Louise was a girl of those times, but she didn't play by the rules.  Most of the time, she did exactly as she pleased.

Louise liked to do her own thing.  And she liked to do it FAST!  When she was only seven years old, she took the wheel of her father's car... and crashed it into the chicken coop!  It was the first time she drove, but it wouldn't be the last.  Louise grew up to be a race car driver, racing for 11 years and winning 38 races.  She was the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame!

Y'all know I love picture book biographies and this is a great one to check out.  From the illustration on the second page depicting Louise driving her father's truck, a grin on her face and a maniacal glint in her eye, I knew that Louise's story was not to be missed!

Scott Dawson's paintings work well with the text in showing the life of a strong woman who wasn't afraid to go for what she wanted.  Louise was born in 1916 and she was racing at a time when that's not what nice girls did.  This is a great title for your Women's History units.  Not only is Louise Smith a name your students probably don't already know, but the racing subject matter may increase appeal for the boys.

Back matter is included that fleshes out Louise Smith's story a bit further, though the book would have benefited from a timeline.  The only place I could find Louise's birth and death dates was in a quote from Louise used on the page before the story starts.  You get a sense of the time through the story and the paintings, but I wish more explicit time information had been used in the text.

Overall, I think this is an appealing and interesting book to add to your Women's History displays this month!

Check out this short book trailer to see more of the artwork:

Fearless is on shelves now!

And Happy Nonfiction Monday!  Catch the roundup at Rasco from RIF!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme in which bloggers share the (bookish) contents of their mailboxes in an effort to get the word out about exciting new titles!  Here's what I got this week:

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Atheneum, May 2011).  Summary from publisher: 

Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears. . . .
In the summer before Cullen's senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone's eating "Lazarus burgers." But as absurd as the town's carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.
While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.
I was pitched this book by the editor, who edited two books I reviewed and loved (Deadly by Julie Chibbaro and Nevermore by Kelly Creagh).  She said that she's really excited about WHERE THINGS COME BACK and that makes me excited about it, too!

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (HarperCollins, February 2011).  Summary from publisher:

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by...and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape...and the strength of her very own family.
This is a novel in verse by a debut author of color.  I started it last night and I'm already digging how Lai paints the Vietnamese landscape with her lush words.  Also: the cover!  Gorgeous!!

What did you get in your mailbox this week? 

Reminder: AudioSynced is Coming Up!

It's getting to be that time again... Time for another fantastic round-up of audiobook reviews!  Since Kelly has some fabulous GUYS READ stuff planned for this week at Stacked, your AudioSynced Roundup will be happening here at Abby the Librarian on Tuesday, March 1

Did you review an audiobook in February?  Drop me a link in comments and I'll be sure to include it in the roundup!  Didn't review an audiobook this month?  Don't worry, AudioSynced will be back next month with another roundup!

So, what have you been listening to?

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Sweet Storytime

Our "Spring" Storytime series started up this week and I wanted to share with you this week's storytime!  This week, our theme was "Sweets for the Sweet" and storytime was all about candy and other sweet things.  Here's what I did:

Song:  "Shake Your Sillies Out" by Raffi from the album More Singable Songs - I will start each storytime with this song to get the kids' jiggles out and to signify that now it's time to start listening.

Memory Box: This week's Memory Box item was a hopscotch board from the book Little Pea by Amy Kraus Rosenthal.

BookWhopper Cake by Karma Wilson.  This story might be a little long for a jumpy group, but I so love Karma Wilson's rhymes.  Grandpa wants to bake Grandma a birthday cake, and his motto is "Go big or go home", so his cake turns into a gigantic "Whopper Cake."  Wilson uses rich vocabulary ("traumatize", "oar", "whopper") throughout and includes a recipe at the end of the book.

Flannel Board StoryThe Cake That Mack Ate by Rose Robart.  I'm not showing you a picture because our felt pieces are pretty old and not the most beautiful.  This cumulative story makes a great flannel story.  When I place the pieces on the board, I place them in a circle, placing Mack (the dog) in the middle as the last piece.  After I've put several pieces up, I invite the kids to fill in the words for me as I point to each piece.

Rhyme:  I made up a "Five Little Candies" rhyme and a prop to go with it!

Five little candies on the shelf at the store.
CRUNCH [I act like I'm eating one and then put it behind the felt board]... and then there were four. 

Four little candies, sweet as could be.
CRUNCH... and then there were three. 

Three little candies, red, pink, and blue.
CRUNCH... and then there were two. 

Two little candies, melting in the sun.
CRUNCH... and then there was one. 

One little candy, looking so yummy. 
CRUNCH... they're all in my tummy! 

BookLittle Pea by Amy Kraus Rosenthal.  This is the story of Little Pea, who liked many things, but hated one thing: candy.  See, candy is what peas have to eat for dinner, so his parents make him eat five pieces before he can have his dessert - a big bowl of spinach!  Although the format's a little small for storytime, I just love this cute, cute story!

Song:  "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" - I explained to the kids that when we eat cake and cookies and candy, we need to do some extra exercise to make sure we stay healthy!  I always do "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" slowly the first time and then repeat it faster and faster for as long as the kids find it fun.

I have a little trick, learned from another librarian, for getting the kids to sit back down after a standing-up activity:

Put your hands on your... head!
Put your hands on your... shoulders!
Put your hands on your... [work your way down, using as many different parts as time allows]
Put your hands on your... tummy!  And when we put our hands on our tummy, let's play it like a drum.
Put your hands on your... knees!
Put your hands on your... toes!  And you're so close to the ground, sit down and have a seat.

Felt Board Activity:  Gummy Bear Colors.  Our Miss T does a "Toddler Time" program and she always has felt items in different colors that go along with her theme.  She passes them out, one to each kid, and when she calls their color, the kids who have that color bring up their felt piece and put it on the board.  This is a simple activity that is infinitely flexible and encourages kids to move around and to approach the felt board.  Miss T had done bears as a theme and so I used her colorful bears as "gummy bears".

Ending Song:  Do You Know What Time it Is?

Take-Home Craft:  Gum Ball Machines.  (Inspired by this post at the Frugal Family Fun Blog!)  We had the blue circles and orange triangles left over from previous crafts.  I ordered Avery color coding dots and cut up tin foil pieces for them to use.

Last fall, we started doing take-home crafts instead of doing a craft at the end of the program.  We put together a packet for each child with the supplies they will need (not including things like scissors, glue, crayons, etc.).  I wasn't sure how parents would react - our library had been doing in-house crafts at storytime for 20+ years - but people seem to really like it.  It's easier for staff because we don't have to constantly set up and take down all the craft tables and because we don't have to try to instruct patrons as 20 kids are running around the room.  

Our feedback from parents has been positive.  They like having something to do to at home to extend what we talked about in storytime and to share with dad or grandparents who might not have been able to attend storytime with us.  Another thing I love about doing take-home packets is that we can include information about early literacy.  I create a handout for each week of storytime with a related book list and some ideas for encouraging early literacy at home.  I can also include schedules for upcoming parent programs, book marks, or whatever we want parents to take home.  By including it with the craft pieces, I am hopeful that the papers actually make it home and hopefully to the fridge or somewhere where parents will read them!

If you don't like or don't have any of the books I mentioned above, here are some alternate books:
The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson [I would have used, but it's overdue..!]
The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
All for Pie, Pie for All by David Martin

What other sweet books or songs would you add?

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen.  Grades 10+  Dutton Juvenile, February 2011.  426 pages.  Reviewed from ARC snagged at ALA.

Danny:  To those in the know, he's a star gymnast, destined for glory (and full athletic scholarships).  To everyone else, he's a shrimpy sophomore getting pummeled by the jocks in the hallway every day.

Kurt:  To those in the know, he's a sensitive protector, trying to recover from psychological wounds inflicted since he was a little kid, working out and bulking up so that he can protect himself and those around him.  To everyone else, he's a stuttering, scar-faced moron living below the poverty level and only given a chance at a new school because the football coach will try anything to win.

When the steriod-infused captains of the football team target a freshman gymnast and push bullying to a deadly degree, secrets will be kept, guilt will fester, and an unlikely friendship between Danny and Kurt might be the only thing that can set the school to rights.

This is a stunning debut.  We have not one, but two distinctly realistic and gripping guy narrators telling the story in alternating chapters.  I really appreciated the fact that the Danny's and Kurt's voices were different.  Not once did I get them mixed up.  Secondary characters are distinct, too (possibly with the exception of the three bullying football captains - they pretty much seemed like three of the same person).

The sports sequences were really well-done and put the reader right into the action.  You can tell that Joshua Cohen knows what he's talking about in both gymnastics and football.  It's so interesting to read a story from a male gymnast's point of view.  I don't know that I know of any other books from that perspective.

Readers see the football players' bullying from two different points of view.  Danny's always been a victim.  His strategy is to keep his head low and try to avoid as much damage as possible.  Kurt was abused as a child and is through being the victim, but just because he's strong enough to physically defend himself doesn't mean he can't be bullied mentally and emotionally.

And bullying's definitely a hot topic right now.  This is definitely a book that will open some eyes and start some discussions.  On the author's website he says,

"I began writing "Leverage" after reading a news account of a horrific attack by a group of high school seniors on their fellow underclassmen teammates. When the victims reluctantly came forward they were ostracized by the surrounding community for sullying the reputation of the school and causing a cancellation of the football season. My fascination with that part of human nature--the need to keep quiet when awful things occur and how that leads to victims getting wronged twice--is what started the whole story that eventually led to "Leverage.""
Occasionally the plot veers towards over-the-top, but unfortunately it may be all too realistic.  I like that the book explores different kinds of bullying, from the physical attacks on Danny to the mental attacks on Kurt.

Also, it is very gritty.  Joshua Cohen does not shy away from, well, anything.  The book deals with child abuse, rape, fights, drugs, teachers who look the other way, absent parents...  Some teens will really dig this, and for some teens it will be too much.  Know your audience with this one and hand it to teens who like Ellen Hopkins, Terry Trueman, or Chris Lynch.

Leverage is on shelves now!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Wither by Lauren DeStefano.  Grades 7+  Simon & Schuster, March 2011.  358 pages.  Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

In a future America where, due to genetic engineering, new children have a lifespan of only 20-25 years, girls are captured off the streets by Gatherers and sold to wealthy families as brides.  Rhine is such a bride, forced into a polygamous marriage to a wealthy doctor's son in Florida.  At fifteen, Rhine only has about 5 more years to live and she's determined to get out of this rotting mansion and back to her twin brother Rowan, back in New York.  But as Rhine gets to know her sister wives and her naive, grieving husband, she wonders if spending her last few years pampered and primped would be so terrible...

I am not going to lie: it took me a little bit to get into this novel.  I kept overthinking the dystopian setting, turning it over and over in my mind to find holes and questions, when what I needed to do was let the words and characters and scenes wash over me.  Once I did that, my friends, I could not put this book down!

It's a pretty twisted world we find ourselves in.  Due to the genetic engineering of a generation of "Super Babies," the descendants of that generation no longer live past age 20 for females and age 25 for males.  Plus, due to catastrophic world wars, the continent of North America is the only place in the world that's not a nuclear wasteland.  The wealthy amuse themselves with parties, makeup, and virtual reality games.  And this is where we find our three sister wives.

In that way, the book has the feel of a period novel.  Yes, Rhine can go swimming in a pool with virtual reality dolphins, but the majority of her time is spent lounging around with her sister wives, becoming increasingly frustrated with her gilded cage.  A big part of the book is the relationships that Rhine develops with her sister wives, stoic Jenna and immature Cecily.  In that way, I think this is a book that will appeal to readers of historical fiction.

And then there's Gabriel, the servant with oh-so-blue eyes to whom she tells her history and her dreams.  It's dangerous to love him, under the watchful eye of her father-in-law, a man bent on discovering an antidote and controlling everything around him.  The romance is very nicely developed - subtle, but believable.  And the characters are very nicely developed. I especially like what Ms. DeStefano did with Linden because by the end of the book, I was actually rooting for Rhine to stay with him (or, well, part of me was, anyway).  I believed in Rhine's struggle with whether she should escape or stay; I was torn right along with her.

With its intriguing world and well-developed characters, I think this is a book with wide teen appeal.  It's Uglies meets Flowers in the Attic (in a good way).

This is the first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy, so I am happy to report that we will hear more from Rhine.  And I have to say that I love the cover.  I think it evokes the feeling of the book perfectly and there are lots of details from the story included, from the pink eyeshadow to the wedding ring.

Debut author Lauren DeStefano is off to a great start with Wither and I can't wait for the next one!

Check out more reviews at GreenBean TeenQueen and Presenting Lenore.

Wither will be on shelves March 22.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Books Make Great Baby Gifts!

I don't know about you, but it seems like my friends are exploding with babies this spring.  Which means... lots of baby showers and lots of baby gifts!  Clothes and toys are all very good as gifts, but we readers know that books make excellent gifts, too, especially for babies and children.  In fact, research tells us that access to books in the home is a critical factor in children's literacy.  So, start those babies off right by giving books as shower gifts!

In 2008, I posted a list of great gift books for babies and toddlers, but it's high time I updated that list!  Here are my current favorite books for baby gifts.  (Um, go check out that list, too, though, because there are awesome books on it!)

Board Books
Board books are a great choice for babies because their cardboard pages are sturdy and will hold up through most anything a baby can do to a book.

Big Fat Hen by Kevin Baker.  Nursery rhymes are great for little ones because rhymes help kids hear the smaller sounds in words and because nursery rhymes often contain words that you don't hear very often in everyday conversation.  Big Fat Hen is one of my favorites to read aloud and I love all the little chicks at the end!

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle.  Eric Carle's books are classics and no child's library will be complete without them!  While I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, lots of parents are already familiar with that title.  From Head to Toe is another great choice.  Read it with baby, reinforcing the body vocabulary by gently touching each body part as you read the book.  There are also many boxed sets and gift sets of Eric Carle's books available.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox.  Rhyming couplets and cute, colorful illustrations will make this sweet book a favorite. Once I read this at a preschool storytime and every time I read the line "Where is the green sheep?" one of the kids added, "And the PURPLE sheep?!"

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox.  Now available in board book format, this book has a great lilting, rhyming text and features multicultural babies, emphasizing how we're all different and we're all the same and baby is loved.  This board book edition is large enough that you can take in Helen Oxenbury's beautiful illustrations and it has study pages so baby can handle it herself.

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee.  This book, beautifully illustrated by Kadir Nelson, takes us through a baby's day with a simple, rhythmic text.  And if you're unsure about giving a book that features characters of a different race than the baby you're buying for, let me remind you that children need to know that people come in all colors.  Reading stories featuring diverse characters is a great way to help them learn that from an early age!

Picture Books
Although babies need access to books they can handle themselves, hardcover books for a baby's library are a great idea, too.  These might be books parents can read aloud to baby at bedtime or books for baby to grow on and enjoy when she's a little older. 

Tomie DePaola's Mother Goose by Tomie DePaola.  A Mother Goose collection is an essential part of any baby's library!  I happen to love Tomie DePaola's illustrations, but if they don't work for you, pick out your favorite.  I also love Clare Beaton's Mother Goose Remembers and if you're on a budget, pick up Tomie DePaola's My First Mother Goose - this board book contains some of the most well-known Mother Goose rhymes.

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.  Gentle rhymes and cute, colorful illustrations make this a bedtime book that will grow with a child.  Anna Dewdney's written several other Llama books.  If this one is a hit, parents can pick up others in the series.

On the Farm by David Elliott.  This is definitely a book for baby to grow into, but until  he or she can grasp the poems, this book is a great choice for singing farm animal songs and learning animal sounds.  Learning animal noises is great for phonological awareness (knowing that words are made up of smaller sounds).  As baby grows into toddler and preschooler, he or she will have a new appreciation for David Elliott's poems.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney.  This nearly wordless book was the 2010 Caldecott Medal winner and it's a book your child will want to pore over again and again when he's a little older.  Collecting Caldecott winners is a surefire way to start baby off with an excellent library.

Overboard by Sarah Weeks.  Books that describe things babies are familiar with are great for little ones.  And what baby won't eventually be familiar with that fun, fun game of throwing toys out of a crib or food from a high chair?

The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky.  One way to develop a love of books is to present books in different ways.  Books don't have to be read - they can be sung!  And nowhere is this more evident than in The Wheels on the Bus.  While the pop-up format might not last long in baby's hands, this is a great one for your child's library.

Don't forget the music...

I'm wary of buying books for librarian friends because I figure they've got their own taste and they know what they're looking for.  So how about a CD?  Soothing bedtime music, child-friendly music for the car, or music to encourage movement are all good choices.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

Jim Gill Makes it Noisy in Boise, Idaho by Jim Gill.  Jim Gill's CDs feature fun, noisy, silly songs to get the whole family moving and interacting.  All of his CDs are great choices, but I think this one is my favorite.  (It is really, really hard to pick a favorite Jim Gill CD.)

You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell.  The songs are kinda folksy and this is definitely a CD that I don't mind listening to again and again.  I think it's a nice choice for kid-friendly music that's appealing to parents, too!  My favorite on this album is Zousan (Little Elephant), which is in Japanese.

African Dreamland by various artists [Putomayo].  I love, love, love Putomayo!  All of their recordings that I've heard are great and this is a great choice for exposing young ears to the sounds of different cultures and countries.  I love African Dreamland because the music is beautiful and soothing, but Putomayo's got a large catalog of world music for kids, so browse through and choose your favorites.

Let's Play by Raffi.  Okay.  Say what you want about Raffi.  He's a children's music classic.  And I love the song "Swing" on this album.  Anyone I worked with at BAL could tell you that it was my favorite song in all our storytime browsing music.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Children's Librarian

8:45a - Arrive at work, put stuff away, greet coworkers, etc.

8:55a - Start pulling materials for the preschool storytimes we're doing at a local early learning center.  We are building our professional collection to make this an easy process.  On a shelf in our office, we keep copies of awesome books that we like to use in programs.  They don't circulate, so they're always available when we need them for storytimes.

9:20a - I am so sick of snow that, in addition to stories on snow and snowmen, I pull Bark, George to take with us.  It's one of my favorite favorites and I never get bored with it!

9:35a - A and I leave for the school.

9:45a - We arrive at the school, sign in at the office, and make our way to the first classroom.  We'll be visiting three classes on this visit.

9:50a - 11:15a - We visit three preschool classes and share the following books with each of them: Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (this was an unexpected hit with the kids.  They LOVED spotting all the different objects used in the snowman pictures!), and Bark, George by Jules Feiffer.  We also did an activity having the kids help us "build" a snowman (we brought a prop snowman made out of Styrofoam balls) and we did a Five Little Snowmen felt rhyme (on a glove so we didn't have to bring a felt board with us).

11:30a - We're back from the school and record our statistics.

11:40a - I work on my staff's time sheets.

12:30p - Lunch time!  I grab my lunch and eat in the staff room, reading Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer.

1:30p - Back from lunch, I zip up to the teen section to take a look at the space and check out what displays and booklists our teen librarian has put out.

2:00p - I have a meeting with one of my staff members to touch base on some projects and programs she's working on.

2:30p - Done with the meeting, I try to clean some things off my desk.

3:30p - I do some thinking about the Summer Reading Club and delve into trying to figure out a budget for us.  The money for our SRC comes from the Friends of the Library (and any outside sources I can scrounge up), so I need to figure out how much to ask for at their meeting early next month.  I look at performers, supplies like reading logs and book bags, decorations, and prizes.

4:50p - Inspired by this SRC work, I start working on a mock up of a baby Summer Reading Club log.  I think we're going to try having a separate club for pre-readers and parents will have a bingo sheet and cross off various early literacy activities that they complete throughout the summer.  We'll have space on the back for parents to record the titles of books they read to their kids if they want to (I think it's nice to have a record they can look back on in 10 or 20 years!).

5:30p - I finish my mock up and then it's time to go home!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recovery Road

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson.  Grades 9+  Scholastic Press, March 2011.  310 pages.  Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

Maddie meets Stewart in rehab and they fall in love. But love's never as easy as that and especially not when you're in rehab. Recovery Road is about finding the right guy at the wrong time and Maddie's struggle to find her own way home.  But it's about more than just that.  It's about the toll that alcohol and drug addiction can take on young lives.  It's about learning how to be a friend.  It's about turning things around and not being able to turn things around.

I loved this book.
I knew I was going to like it - it was already getting some positive buzz when I picked it up.  But I loved it even more than I thought I was going to. 

Maddie's voice is searingly real; I felt like she was sitting across from me and telling me her story.  It's a tragic story, but also a hopeful story, and there are humorous bits to lighten things up every now and then.  The book made me laugh out loud and it also broke my heart. 

And I mean, it broke my heart.  Not really in that sobbing-uncontrollably kind of way, but just because I know that these are problems that teens are facing every day.  These are tragedies that are happening in towns across the country.  Maddie's is a story of hope, but she has some bad stuff to get through first.

The story's got a lot of layers, as Maddie moves on from rehab and enters high school again.  She makes friends and loses them, sets goals, tries to move on... And always Stewart is there.  Their relationship is so much more important than boyfriend/girlfriend.  They save each other.  Stewart is a thread connecting Maddie to who she used to be, reminding her of the importance of her recovery.  

I also have to mention the book's cover and title.  I love the cover.  It definitely caught my eye with the heart formed out of pills.  And the title is absolutely perfect. 

I don't even know if this review makes any sense.  Just go read Recovery Road.  If you like books like Hate List by Jennifer Brown, It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, Crank by Ellen Hopkins... go read this book! 

Recovery Road will be on shelves March 1! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Deadly by Julie Chibbaro.  (Grades 7+)  Atheneum, February 2011.  295 pages.  Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

Ever since her brother died of an infected wound, Prudence has been determined to further the medical sciences and save lives, but that's not easy when you're a 16-year-old girl in 1906 New York City.  When she takes a secretarial job at the Department of Health and Sanitation, Prudence begins working with Mr. Soper, trying to track cases of typhoid and figure out how to stop the epidemic.  All tracks seem to lead to one woman - Mary Mallon - but "Typhoid Mary" refuses to believe that she carries the disease.  After all, she's never been sick a day in her life...

This book is so up my alley.  Let's see...

Historical fiction set in the early 1900s?  Check.

Ooky medical details?  Check.

Strong female protagonist?  Check.

Lovely, detailed author's note?  Check!

I confess that every time I read a YA book that's set around the turn of the century (my favorite historical time period to read about is 1890s-1914 or so...), I ask myself, "Would this character be friends with Mattie Gokey?"  One of my problems with Calpurnia Tate is that I thought Mattie Gokey would want to punch her in the nose.*

WELL.  Not only would Mattie and Prudence be friends, I think they would be college roommates and BFFs.  They're both facing challenges, like making the rather radical decision to pursue their dreams and go to college.  And they compliment each other perfectly: Mattie paints pictures with her words, while Prudence analyzes facts and figures.

However, since the Mattie Gokey Scale is probably not a standard measure of awesomeness in YA literature**, I do have a few other things to say.

I picked this one up right away (thumbs up on the cover - love the typhoid green) and I didn't really put it down until I was finished.  Julie Chibbaro creates a realistically detailed picture of 1906-07 New York and it's obvious she's done her research on setting and subject matter.  Speaking of research, she includes a wonderful author's note, clearly laying out what was real and what was fictional, and providing additional information about Mary Mallon and how she researched her.

Another thing I loved is that Prudence Galewski is Jewish.  Her parents are immigrants and her best friend is a Jewish Russian immigrant.  Being Jewish was an issue back then (and Prudence does say that she wouldn't mention being Jewish to her employers), but it's not the focus of this book.  Instead, Prudence just happens to be Jewish, as evidenced by many descriptive details included in the book.  Huzzah for diversity!

I do think the ending came a bit abruptly and, without spoiling anything, I wished for a little more resolution between Prudence and certain male characters.  But it's a distinct possibility that I just didn't want it to end. :)

While the medical details won't be for everyone, they are not particularly graphic.  And ever since Sarah Miller called for characters that are into science/math/anything but literature, I've taken note of books with science lovers.  Add this one to the list, Sarah!

Deadly is Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light meets Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever, 1793 and highly recommended for fans of either (or both!).

Look for it on shelves February 22!

*Okay!  That's not really fair!!  But it's how I feel.  


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Cybils Day!

I knew there was something special about today.  Love is in the air... Love for GREAT KIDS' BOOKS, that is!  The winners of the 2010 Children's & Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards were announced this morning!!

Congratulations to all the authors and illustrated who were recognized!  We had a fabulous field of nominees this year and it couldn't have been an easy decision in any category.

Note:  If you are going to purchase any of the Cybils winners or nominees, I urge you to click through to the Cybils site above and use their links to Amazon (unless you are patronizing your local indie!) so the Cybils will receive their small commission!  Funding like that makes it possible for the awards to happen!

Amelia Lost

Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming.  Grades 4-8.  Random House Books for Young Readers, February 2011.  128 pages.  Reviewed from ARC snagged at ALA.

Biographies of Amelia Earhart.  We have plenty of them, right?

Famous lady disappears on a flight around the world.  Years later, people are intrigued.  Lots of biographies are written.

But this one stands out among the crowd.  This one is not to be missed.

First of all, you have Candace Fleming, master nonfiction writer.  She brings Amelia Earhart to life with quotes, photos, and stories about her.  She takes the reader through Amelia's childhood, her family's struggles with an alcoholic father, and her dreams of flying.  She includes little details that make the reader realize that Amelia Earhart was a real person (did you know that her hair was not naturally wavy?  She took a curling iron to it every morning to create that tousled look!).  With Candance Fleming, you know you're going to get a meticulously researched and well-written biography.

The thing that made this biography stand out for me was the way that Ms. Fleming alternated the story of Amelia Earhart's life with the story of her death.  When you crack open the book, the first bit is about Amelia's scheduled rendezvous with the tiny island in the Pacific where she was supposed to stop and refuel.  Everyone was ready.  Everyone was alert.  And she didn't show up.  They caught snatches of her voice on the radio, but they were unable to contact her, even though they tried many, many times.

It broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes and from that moment, I was utterly engrossed in Amelia's story (even though I have read biographies of her before).  And the book continues that way, giving biographical information about Amelia and then, between chapters, continuing the story of those days when she was lost.  I had no idea that civilians had picked up what might have been broadcasts from Amelia's radio, even as far away as Florida.

If you think you know the story of Amelia Earhart, I urge you to pick up Amelia Lost and see if you don't learn something new.  This is a book that will stick with me.  And I am not afraid to admit that I cried when booktalking it to my staff.

Check out more reviews at A Fuse #8 Production and Reading Rants.

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Nonfiction Monday!  Check out the roundup at Wrapped in Foil.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Around the Interwebs

Just a quick one because it is Saturday and I'm kinda dying to get back in bed and finish Wither.

Roger Sutton of Read Roger brought The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone to my attention.  It's been sitting on my shelf for awhile, though I haven't gotten to it yet.  What do you think it's about?  No, seriously, think about it before you read on.

I thought it was a modern-day story of friendship, growing up, and first boyfriends.  Um.  Yeah, no.  Would you believe it's historical fiction set in World War II?  Did they even make pink sneakers like that in 1941?  How important is historical accuracy on a book cover?  Roger says (in comments on his post)

"I think historical accuracy does matter in cover art, especially when the inaccuracy amounts to blatant and pandering misrepresentation, which I believe is the case here."

Although Best Books for Babies* is gone, Mel has kindly archived their annual lists of great books for little ones.  As she says, board books go out of print pretty quickly, but these lists give you a great idea of what to look for in good books for babies.  If you do baby storytime, check out these lists!

I thought this post from Amanda of Not Just Cute was so interesting that I printed it out for all my staff members at our last department meeting: Praise Junkies Beware.  Basically, praise for kids is better when you're praising their effort, hard work, and accomplishments rather than innate traits ("You're so smart!").  Just something to keep in mind...

And Amanda's got another post that I starred, with Valentine's Day right around the corner.  Whether you love or hate V-Day, why not turn the holiday into a wonderful tradition of sharing books that you love with the people you love?

Speaking of Valentine's Day, check out this quiz at to find out your ideal YA novel boyfriend.  My results were tied between Sam of Shiver and Daniel from Fallen, but since I do NOT do angels, I am going to have to go with Sam.  We'll just get some space heaters or something. :) 

What are you doing on May 2?  No plans?  Hold an Unconference at your library!  May 2, 2011 is National Library Unconference Day.  Check out that post on 8-bit Library for more details. 

If you've got a teen book display for Black History Month, check out this post on The Hub for books to add to it. 

And that's it for me.  Enjoy your Saturday!  Are you curling up with a good book this weekend?  What book?

*I did not know about Best Books for Babies and now it appears I have missed the boat.  Thank goodness for Mel!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Librarian Loot Winner

The Random Number generator picked lucky number 13 in the Loot for Librarians giveaway, so congratulations to Jennifer L. of Iowa!!  

Thanks to all who entered! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Running Dream

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen.  Grades 7+  Knopf Books for Young Readers, January 2011.  336 pages.  Reviewed from ARC snagged at ALA.

I am a runner. 
That's what I do. 
That's who I am. 
Running is all I know, or want, or care about...
Running aired out my soul. 
It made me feel alive
And now? 
I'm stuck in this bed, knowing I'll never run again. (pg 6)

When an uninsured truck driver plows into the track team's school bus, Jessica's right leg is smashed beyond repair, requiring a below-the-knee amputation.  In the days after the accident, Jessica can't imagine walking again, let alone running, but with the help of her determined friends and family, she just might make it back on the track.  The Running Dream chronicles the months after the accident as Jessica returns to school, figures out a prosthetic leg, and slowly regains hope for the future.

If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be "uplifting".  Jessica's story is one of hope, of friends and family coming together to help, and of possibilities.  It's about small victories and large victories and making the world a better place.

Right from the start, I was attached to Jessica.  Her complete despair about never being able to run again leaped off the page and pierced me.  Even though I had only known Jessica for a few pages, her pain was so real that I immediately sympathized with her.  I wanted to know what would happen, where she would go, and how she would get her life back.

Wendelin Van Draanen takes us on that journey with Jessica, managing to explain the intricacies of prosthesis and physical therapy in an organic way that educates the reader without taking us out of the story.  Along the way, Jessica befriends Rosa, a girl with cerebral palsy whom she had always ignored before, and the book has a positive message of seeing people, not their disabilities.

If I have a criticism, it would be that Jessica's path actually seemed to be a little too easy.  Certainly she's working her butt off, and it takes the herculean efforts of her friends and family to get her where she's going.  But I kept waiting for her to falter, for the family to have to deal with their devastating financial situation, for her to fall down, and it didn't happen.  After Jessica wallows for a bit in the beginning, she's pretty much go-go-go until the end.  And that's nice, in a way - it makes for a very nice story with a nice positive "You Can Do It!" message.  But it didn't feel completely realistic.

However, there is definitely an audience for You Can Do It! stories.  Young readers will be rooting for Jessica the whole way through.

This is a great choice for fans of Kelly Bingham's Shark Girl (thanks, Kelly, for the idea!) and I'd hand this one to fans of medical stories like Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson.  I think fans of sports stories like Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock will dig it, too.

Ooh, and one last thing.  A note on the cover.  I LOVE it.  It's clean and bright, just like the book.  The running shoes (and title) immediately clue you in to what the story's about.  I think it's cute how the shoelaces go up to make the R in "Running".  And you can't tell from this image, but on my ARC the words of the title are a little bit smudged, like someone tried to wipe them out but couldn't.  Perfect!

The Running Dream is on shelves now!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great Tween Reads

The teen area of the library can be overwhelming for newcomers.  In my library, the Children's Department serves birth through 5th grade (or so) and book for kids in grades 6-12 (or so) are shelved upstairs in the Teen Scene.  This can be an intimidating jump for new sixth graders (and their parents) to make!  And I've found that our adult services staff is not always familiar enough with teen lit to recommend books that are appropriate for tweens and younger teens.

So, to help them out (because we're all in this together!), I came up with a list of Great Tween Reads, and, since I received several requests to share the list, here is it:

Great Tween Reads!!

These are books that are shelved in our Teen Scene area that I would recommend for tweens (roughly grades 5-7).  I solicited help from my lovely Twitter friends, checked out the books recommended on GreenBean TeenQueen's Tween Tuesday feature, and perused the Rebecca Caudill nominee lists to get ideas.  (Other state book award lists are good resources for this age group, too.  I just happen to think that the Caudill committees consistently combine popularity and literary merit to come up with excellent lists.)

It's long to (hopefully) ensure that there's something for everyone on it.  My hope is to make the teen area less intimidating by showing parents that there *are* books appropriate for middle-grade readers in our teen area.  And we are happy to help parents find them. 

This list is *not* all-inclusive.  It does not include tween books that are shelved in my library's Children's department, for instance.  Also, it does not include many excellent tween books that my library doesn't own (yet).  I copied the brief summaries from our library catalog and included them in the list.  I also included a genre in bold at the end of each entry to facilitate readers' advisory.

Please take this list and use it in whatever way is helpful to you.  Feel free to edit, share, etc.

And, please, if you have suggestions for additions, I'd be happy to have them!  I'm particularly looking for titles that have more of a teen/YA "feel" but with content that's appropriate for younger readers.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer.  Grades 7+  HarperTeen, February 2011.  327 pages.  Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

Brooke: A-lister, It-Girl, incredibly talented singer.  Ever since her dad thrust her into the spotlight, she's been singing to earn his approval and attention.  She knows she can do anything as long as he's there to help her, but her dad hasn't been coming around as much lately...

Kathryn:  Overachiever, outcast, incredibly talented singer.  Determined to attend college despite her parents' wobbly financial situation, she knows that scholarships are her only chance.  Instead of choosing between academic and vocal scholarships, she applies to everything and she knows it'll work out.  As long as she can keep up the all-nighters.

The Blackmoore:  A prestigious singing competition held in Brooke & Kathryn's hometown.  Winning means fame, jobs, admission to top music schools, and a cash prize.  And there's only one first place spot.

Brooke and Kathryn are facing off in the competition of their lives and they'll find out once and for all who's got what it takes.  But before they were bitter enemies, Brooke and Kathryn were actually friends.  What got them to this point and is there anything they can do to take it all back and make amends?

Rival is a story about music.  But it's also a story about friendship and the power of popularity and mistakes and misunderstandings.

The story also alternates between the present (senior year) and the past (junior year), showing Brooke and Kathryn as rivals and then jumping back to show the rise and fall of their friendship.  The entire story's bittersweet because Brooke and Kathryn actually had the potential to be great friends.  They need each other.  Brooke's surrounded by popular people, but her best friends don't understand her passion for music.  Brooke's ready to jump ship and give up the popularity (and the pressure that goes along with it), but she can't quite figure out how to do it.

Kathryn is a loner who only has one friend, really.  When she's approached by the popular crowd, Kathryn gets swept up in fashion advice and slumber party invitations until she's inadvertently hurting the people she cares about.

The story's told in alternate voices, letting the reader see both Brooke's side and Kathryn's side of the story.  Sara Bennett Wealer does an admirable job of fleshing out both characters and explaining why they became enemies.  Mistakes were made on both sides.  Misunderstandings happened on both sides.  Friends turned out to be not so friendly and unexpected allies appeared to save the day.  This element of the story really struck a chord with me because I had a falling out with a good friend in high school and I don't think we ever talked again.  The rocky terrain of friends and enemies is certainly something that many high schoolers are dealing with.

I got into the drama, true, but where the book really shone was in the writing about music.  You can certainly tell that Ms. Wealer is a singer herself and she describes the triumphs and tribulations of singing very clearly.  More than once, I stopped reading to look up YouTube videos of the songs described in the story.  Musical teens will see themselves in this story, but there's plenty here for musical newbies as well.

I'd definitely hand this to fans of Glee.  The combination of high school drama and musical competition will hit the right notes (har har) with Gleeks everywhere.  I'd also try it teens who like theater and musical novels like Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, Dramarama by E. Lockhart, or Good Enough by Paula Yoo.

This is Sara Bennett Wealer's debut and I hope that there will be more to come from her.  (More books about singers, please!)

Read more reviews at Presenting Lenore and The Crooked Shelf.

Rival will be on shelves February 15.  And now I'm off to go practice my chorus music... ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Loot for a Librarian

The Giveaway is Now Closed.  Thanks for entering!

Y'all, I came back from ALA Midwinter with a LOT of books.  And now I'm getting additional copies of some of them because of le blog.  So, I'm giving one lucky librarian out there a chance to win some ARCs!

This giveaway is open to US residents only and you must be a librarian to enter!  To ensure that the giveaway's going to a librarian, I'm going to require that you give me either your library/school email address or your library/school mailing address (or both).  Each person gets one entry.  Entries will be accepted through Thursday, February 10 and the random number generator will pick a winner on Friday, February 11.

Oh.  And here are the ARCs I have to give away:

To enter, fill out the form below!  Good luck!

Great Migrations

Great Migrations: Whales, Wildebeests, Butterflies, Elephants, and Other Amazing Animals on the Move by Elizabeth Carney.  Grades 3-6.  National Geographic Kids, 2010.  48 pages.  Review copy provided by publisher.

Each fall, kids notice birds migrating south for the winter.  Geese make giant Vs in the sky as the days get cooler and the leaves fall off the trees.  But there are many different kinds of migration and many animals migrate.  Did you know that monarch butterflies migrate such a great distance that it takes them several generations to complete the journey?  Did you know that there's a lake in the South Pacific where 10 million golden jellyfish migrate each day to follow the sun?  Did you know that sperm whales can travel over 20,000 miles a year through the world's oceans?

These facts and many more are included in Great Migrations, a companion book to the miniseries produced by National Geographic.  Each animal represented in the book gets a stunning photographic spread, followed by an informational spread with facts about their migration.  The informational spreads are laid out in a colorful and appealing way, using different font sizes and colors to emphasize information.  A map is included, showing where in the world each animal is located and showing the animal's migrational patterns.

The stunning photos will attract kids to pick up this book and it will make a great companion for students watching the miniseries.  The book includes spreads on elephants, red crabs, monarch butterflies, golden jellyfish, zebras, army ants, wildebeests, and sperm whales, showing that migrations occur all over our planet and in many different types of animals.

Kids who like books with facts about animals will enjoy this book and it'll make a nice classroom addition for units on migration or world animals.  National Geographic Kids has also published a series of readers that accompany the miniseries, so those are worth seeking out!

Check out the trailer for the Great Migrations miniseries:

And check out more reviews of Great Migrations at Growing with Science and Reading Saves the Day.

Great Migrations is on shelves now and the series will be re-aired next week, so check it out!

Happy Nonfiction Monday!  Head on over to Wild About Nature for this week's roundup!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Display for Black History Month

Hey, it's Black History Month and I've got a post up at the ALSC Blog about our bulletin board & display featuring Black authors and illustrators.  Here's a little preview, and you can see the rest over at the ALSC Blog:

In My Mailbox

It's Sunday and that means it's time for In My Mailbox, a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren in which bloggers share the bookish contents of their mailboxes!  I participate in In My Mailbox in order to give some "face time" to the books I receive since it is impossible for me to review every one.  I hope that it helps you put upcoming and new releases on your radar!

This week:

Bird in a Box by Andrea Pinkney (Little, Brown, April 2011).  

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown (Little, Brown, May 2011).  Read it!  It's FABULOUS!!! 

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (Balzer + Bray, March 2011). 

The Dark City (Relic Master #1) by Catherine Fisher (Dial, May 2011). 

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Little, Brown, May 2011).  I see that Sarah at The Reading Zone gave this one five stars on GoodReads... Color me intrigued!

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster, August 2011).  The editor's calling this one Ken Oppel's masterpiece, so I'm super excited!

The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky (Little, Brown, April 2011).

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Simon & Schuster, March 2011).

Happy reading!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Around the Interwebs

Here's what I've been surfing this week...

It's Black History Month!!  That means 28 Days Later is back at The Brown Bookshelf!  Check out this month-long celebration of black authors and illustrators.

Know what else is back?  The Battle of the Kids' Books.  Here are this year's contenders.  (Can I be completely honest?  I don't have visceral love for any of these titles, actually...)

Even though I am no longer in Illinois, I still pay attention when the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award nominees are announced (thanks to Becky of Libri Delectio!).  Know why?  Because they always have a fabulous list. (Someday I will get my act together and see if I can talk my way onto the Young Hoosier Book Award Committee...)

Dude, there was this big kerfuffle about Bitch Media's 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader.  Apparently, after some comments by readers, the list editors revisited a few of their choices and removed them from the list.  In acts of solidarity with the authors removed from the list, YA authors including Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, and Diana Peterfreund asked to be removed from the list.

My two cents?  If librarians had made this list, there would be no removals or substitutions because librarians would have thought critically about the books before publishing the list.  Librarians would have solid reasons for each and every book on that list and would fight for every title, even if some of their choices proved unpopular.  THIS IS WHY WE NEED LIBRARIANS.

In happier news, I hear from The Hub that YALSA's starting a Readers' Choice List.  Anybody can nominate titles in a number of genres and YALSA members will vote for winners in November.

Are you doing the One World, Many Stories summer reading theme this year?  Marge of Tiny Tips for Library Fun shares Surefire Storytelling Tips for One World, Many Stories.

For more library programming resources, I must insist that you check out Storytime Katie.  Katie posts awesome storytime plans and she has the cutest felts ever.  Seriously.  Katie, I need you to come down here and make about a million felt stories for me, okay?  :)

Rereading.  Do you do it?  Should you be doing it (especially if you're a reviewer)?  Steph Su's asking these questions over at her blog.  Go weigh in.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Secret Language of Girls

The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell, narrated by Michele Santopietro.  Grades 4-6.  Random House/Listening Library, 2004.  3 hours, 52 minutes (4 discs).  Reviewed from library copy. 
Kate and Marilyn have been best friends since they were little kids, but now they're starting 6th grade and things are changing.  Kate wonders when Marilyn started getting so interested in makeup and cheerleading.  Marilyn wonders when Kate will start to grow up.  Told in vignettes throughout their sixth grade year, The Secret Language of Girls alternates points of view between Kate and Marilyn (with a little bit of Marilyn's brother Petey thrown in for good measure).

In 2009, I read The Kind of Friends We Used to Be, which is actually the sequel to The Secret Language of Girls.  I loved Friends and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to pick up this book.  If Friends is "a story about girls beginning to become the people they want to become", then The Secret Language of Girls is a story about girls starting to realize that things can't stay they same, that they can't stay the same, even if they want to.

This is a coming-of-age story reminiscent of the Judy Blume books I read and loved as a tween.  These are the kind of stories that will always be written because they're always needed by girls who are starting think about growing up.  The story is told alternately from both Kate's and Marilyn's points of view (with a little bit of Marilyn's younger brother Petey thrown in there, too).

One thing that stuck out to me about this book was the strength of the supporting characters.  As I listened to the story, I found myself wanting to know the story from Petey's point of view or from Flannery's point of view, and so on.  To me, that speaks to the development of even minor characters.  They're interesting enough that I wondered what the events would look like through their eyes.

The main characters of Kate and Marilyn are well-developed, too, and they're nice reflections of best friends who suddenly realize that they don't have as much in common as they thought.  I got a comment from a tween reader on my review of The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and she said that she felt that she was like Marilyn and her best friend was like Kate.  Certainly not all tweens will identify with either Marilyn or Kate, but I'm betting many will.

I listened to the audio recording, narrated by Michele Santopietro.  She has a strong, clear reading voice and though she does slightly different voices for the characters, hers is a narration that lets the story speak for itself.  She does the story justice by not over-voicing or over-acting.  It's a quiet kind of story and the simple narration really works for it.  Santopietro gives the characters just enough variation that you can tell them apart.

Hey, I'm an Audible affiliate, which means that if you purchase items after clicking links on my site, I may receive a commission! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Invisible Learning

This morning as I lead our Mother Goose on the Loose storytime for babies and toddlers, one of my regulars suddenly started doing all the motions for the rhymes on his own for the first time.  He's been coming for a few months, starting in the fall, and he's always pretty quiet and shy.  But today he was so into it

Today he clapped his hands.  He nodded his head.  He swayed from side to side.  He made animal noises.  And all those months when he was sitting there quietly as his mom hit the floor and clapped and swayed from side to side... he was soaking it all in. 

It just goes to show you that even when you can't see it right in front of you, learning is taking place. 

And this is why we do what we do.  (One of many great reasons.)

AudioSynced January Roundup!!

There's been a lot of listening around the blogosphere in January, so without further ado, I present your AudioSynced Roundup!  Have a post or review that I missed?  Please leave it in the comments and I'll add it to the roundup!  Didn't review an audiobook this month?  Never fear, AudioSynced will be back on March 1 over at STACKED.

News and Posts

The 2011 Odyssey Awards were announced!!  The medal went to The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, narrated by Bahni Turpin and honors went to Alchemy and Maggie Swann by Karen Cushman, narrated by Katherine Kellgren; The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, narrated by Nick Podehl; Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Berling; and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, narrated by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl.

Also, don't miss the 2011 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list and the 2011 Children's Notable Recordings list.

Julia of Spine Label gives us the scoop on serving on the selection committee for YALSA's Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.

Sarah of GreenBean TeenQueen has a great intro to audiobook listening where she suggests some of her favorite titles and narrators.

Cory Doctorow's got a free audio download of his short story Scrooged available.


I posted a review of Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, narrated by Joel Johnstone.

Amanda of A Patchwork of Books reviews Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, narrated by a full cast.

The folks at Audiobook Heaven reviewed the entire Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett, read by Tim Curry. 

Melissa of Book Nut reviews Street Magic by Tamora Pierce, narrated by a full cast.

Janssen of Everyday Reading reviews Split by Swati Avasthi.

Jess of The Joys of Reading posted a roundup of her January listens, including The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan, read by Jesse Bernstein; Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, read by Rebecca Lowman; and Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer, read by Nathaniel Parker.

Becky of Libri Delectio reviewed the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

Melissa of One Librarian's Book Reviews discusses The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Brenda of proseandkahn reviewed many audiobooks this month and her two favorites were They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, read by Dion Graham and Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd, read by Sile Birmingham.

Laura Ashlee of Ramblings of a (Future) Librarian reviews The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, read by Josephine Bailey; The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, read by Sarita Choudhury; Sabriel by Garth Nix, read by Tim Curry; Beastly by Alex Flinn, read by Chris Patton; & Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, read by a full cast.

Lee of Reading With My Ears reviews The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, read by Jonathan Davis; The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, read by Kevin R. Free & Katherine Kellgren; The Other by Wes Moore, narrated by the author; Elegy for April by Benjamin Black, narrated by Timothy Dalton; & The Cardturner by Louis Sachar, read by the author.

Kim of STACKED reviews Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

And that's all I've got for you!  What did I miss?  Please leave a link in the comments to your January audiobook post(s) or review(s) and I'll add 'em!

Remember, Kelly will have another AudioSynced Roundup at STACKED on March 1!