Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
Holy cats, did I start a thread on Twitter the other week! In one of my Grab Bag requests I was working on, a patron asked for "any picture books that are hilarious and make you laugh out loud". I definitely have my own laugh out loud favorites, but I know that everyone has a different sense of humor, so I wondered what my Twitter friends would say. 151 replies later (!!!), I have quite a list and I was happily able to tell my patron to let me know anytime she wanted more funny books and I could keep her in good supply!
It's waaaaay too many books to list all of them, but here are some of my favorites and some of the most-suggested. If you're looking for funny books, you can't go wrong here! Bonus: MANY of these authors have other books that are also hilarious and/or awesome, so definitely check them out!
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett. Atheneum, 1988.
The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak. Dial, 2014.
Chicken Butt by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Henry Cole. Abrams, 2009.
Guess Again! by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex. Simon & Schuster, 2009.
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. Candlewick, 2016.
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex. Balzer + Bray, 2017.
Misunderstood Shark by Amy Dyckman, illustrated by Scott Magoon. Orchard Books, 2018.
Moo! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Bloomsbury, 2013.
Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley. Little, Brown, 2018.
Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex. Chronicle Books, 2017.
Penguin Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith. Random House, 2016.
Potato Pants by Laurie Keller. Henry Holt, 2018.
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton. Arthur A. Levine, 2015.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas. Beach Lane Books, 2009.
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, 2011.
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. Candlewick, 2012.
We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan Higgins. Disney-Hyperion, 2018.
Who Wet My Pants? by Bob Shea. Little, Brown, 2019.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison. Ages 5-9. Schwartz & Wade, 2020. 40 pages. Review copy provided by my local library.
When Bring Your Grandparents day approaches at school, Zura starts to get nervous. She loves her grandparents, who grew up in Ghana; they're her favorite people, but Zura's afraid that the kids at school won't understand her Nana Akua's tribal face tattoos. She's afraid the other kids might be afraid or laugh at her grandma. Luckily, Nana Akua has a plan and with the help of Zura's quilt featuring many tribal symbols and some gold face paint, Nana Akua turns the day into one that no one will forget.
This is a nice story about learning about different cultures and accepting differences that make us all special. It's a very reassuring story and may introduce a lot of young readers to the idea of tribal markings. I love the vibrant, textures artwork, especially the patterned material used for many of the fabrics in the book. This would make a wonderful classroom readaloud to introduce empathy and acceptance.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
So, I'm back at blogging, as you may have seen if you've been around over these past couple of weeks. I'm trying out a new format of short little micro posts. I want to get the word out about some of the amazing kids' books coming out, but I honestly don't have the time or bandwidth to write booktalks and longer reviews right now. We'll see how this goes.
You know this blog highlights kidlit, but I have also read some fantastic adult books over the past few months, too. I have been listening up a storm thanks to libro.fm's librarian review copy program. Publishers provide new release and advance downloadable audiobooks free to librarians through this program. It's easy to sign up if you are an ALA member and there are new selections - both adult and youth titles - each month. (This is not a sponsored post - I just want to make sure you know about it!)
If you're looking for adult book recommendations, I would hand you any of these. I didn't read all of them on audiobook, but most of them.
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020. 432 pages. This super cute and funny British romcom was a phenomenal listen that had me grinning as I walked around my neighborhood listening to it. Luc, the reluctantly famous son of a rock star, has landed in the tabloids once too many times for his employer and must improve his image or lose his job. So he makes a deal with friend of a friend Oliver - they'll fake a relationship and stay in the public eye enough to fix Luc's reputation and Luc will accompany Oliver on some of his social obligations. But you know how this trope goes, right? The audio is fantastic, fully voiced by Joe Jameson who does all the accents for the quirky supporting characters in Luc's life. It's funny and feel-good and all the action happens offscreen, so if Red, White, and Royal Blue made you blush too hard, this is a great choice.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. Orbit, 2020. 448 pages. Urban fantasy is not always my jam, but this one was getting So Much Love at the #MidLibFaves twitter roundup of librarian favorites that I had to check it out and I loved it. New York City is in the process of being born and facing an otherworldly evil that threatens its very existence unless the five avatars - one representing each of its five boroughs - can find each other and figure out how to fight back. I absolutely loved all the characters and the intriguing world-building. Audiobook narrator Robin Miles really brings the story to life with her fully voiced performance. She had me hooked from the scene where our first avatar runs across a busy New York highway.
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan. Doubleday, 2020. 336 pages. I'm a huge fan of Crazy Rich Asians (book series and movie!), so I was really excited to see this coming out. It's got a surprisingly low rating on GoodReads, but I actually really enjoyed it. It's a play on A Room with a View and stars an endearing protagonist Lucie Churchill who has a disastrous fling with the sexy George Zhao on the lush island of Capri in Italy, thanking her lucky stars that she will never have to see him again... until of course years later their paths do cross again. I loved the opulent Capri setting in the first half of the book and it was just a fun book to sink into while I was on a week of vacation this summer. The descriptions of fashion, luxury apartments, and five-star food made for excellent armchair travel, especially enjoyable right now since we can't go anywhere or do anything.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. Riverhead Books, 2020. 352 pages. This beautiful novel explores the lives of light-skinned African American twin sisters who run away from their small Louisiana town at age sixteen and what happens when one of the twins leaves and starts passing for white. This is a book that has a lot to say about family and race and presenting yourself to the world in the way that you want to be seen, and what that means for where you come from and who you are. The multi-decade historical setting and family dynamics of the story really reminded me of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and I think readers of that book would really enjoy this one, as well.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. Knopf, September 2020. 288 pages. This is a moving portrait of an immigrant family torn apart by addiction, a novel that puts faces on the opioid crisis and examines what it means to have faith and to love. I devoured this novel and I especially loved Gifty's story of her gradual loss of faith. I recognized so many moments as adolescent Gifty began to question the religion that had always been so important to her. This is a great pick for readers of women in science or searing family stories.
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue. Little, Brown and Company, 2020. 304 pages. I devoured this wonderful historical novel, set over the course of three days in Dublin during the 1918 flu pandemic. Although it's set 100 years ago, it's eerily reminiscent of things happening today during this global pandemic and publication was pushed up several months to get this ready during these tumultuous times. Nurse Julia Powers finds herself on her own, running the Maternity Fever ward for expectant mothers with the flu, but luckily she's not without help. A brand new volunteer assistant shows up and quickly begins learning the ropes. Together, the two of them will face birth, death, and begin to realize what makes life worth living. It reads like the best episode of Call the Midwife ever and it's perfect for readers of medical stories.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. Quirk Books, 2020. 408 pages. I loved, loved, loved this funny, gory novel about a book club in Charlestown, SC that takes on a neighborhood vampire. Set in the 1990s, it's Steel Magnolias meets Anne Rice and such an enjoyable read with memorable characters and a giggle for every shudder. I listened to the audiobook, expertly narrated and fully voiced by the indomitable Bahni Turpin. This was a perfect summer read and a great distraction. It's my first Grady Hendrix, but it won't be my last.
Monday, September 7, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
How's it going for you in library land? Or classroom land or office land or virtual land or stuck-at-home land, wherever you happen to be?
|Abby, wearing a mask, poses with a cart of children's books pulled for Grab Bags|
I don't have any big updates since my last pandemic update, which is in itself an update. We've settled into a lonely and depressed and anxious pattern here, which is not to say that things are all bad. It's just to say that if you're feeling some negative emotions about whatever you're doing right now, whatever your library is doing right now, you're not alone.
Our schools started back up a couple of weeks ago and so far they are continuing a mix of in-person instruction and virtual. One struggle for our library staff in general is that we're a border town, so the situation is different in Indiana and in Kentucky. The Louisville public schools are completely virtual for now, which has been challenging for some of our staff who live there.
One improvement we've made since school started back is that we've started a subscription to an online tutoring service and it's getting a lot of buzz in our community. After parents' struggles with virtual school in the spring, I knew we should look for some kind of virtual tutoring, so we're excited to see how this goes. Honestly, tutoring was a regular request from patrons at our library, so it was high time we took the plunge. We struggle sometimes with promoting use of digital services (especially database-type services, e-books do pretty well), so it's really nice that we're getting some nice buzz.
I'm hopefully about to add about 10,000 digital library cards for the students in our public school system, too, which should be a great help for people. We did this last year, but we struggled with really getting the word out about it, so hopefully this will be our year to fully capitalize on the digital cards.
My day to day looks much like it did in July. I'm in the library every day and splitting my time between my office (when my officemates are working from home) and a meeting room so that I don't have to wear a mask all day. I know the day will come when work from home stops and I'll have to get used to wearing a mask all the time, but I'm taking my behind-the-scenes privileges where I can right now!
My general routine is to start each day pulling books and putting holds on our Grab Bag requests. This is one of the few things I am doing right now that I can see makes a difference, so it's a nice way to start my day. It is a very concrete activity in that I get to interact directly with patrons via email and I get to pull books that are going into their hands. Most of the new books I'm ordering right now are just sitting on shelves no one can browse, so while I know that will make a difference at some point or to a few people who place advance holds, it's really helpful to have something more concrete.
|One of the book display fixtures we've moved from the Children's Room to the front lobby. This one is filled with fall books and I call it the Pumpkin Spice Display.|
Our library is still working very hard at providing curbside service and we've opened our lobby for limited browsing. That means that we've moved a bunch of our New Book collections and places some genre and topical displays in the front lobby that patrons can browse. We've also moved computers to the front of the building and are offering computer use by appointment (and drop-in as long as we've got a computer available).
A friend and library colleague of mine Tweeted the other day about the cognitive dissonance between being in a helping, public position and being afraid to get too close to people (the public, for sure, but also coworkers). That really hit home with me and put words to the feelings I'm having, too. I miss my coworkers, but don't want to endanger myself or anyone else by starting to meet in person or dissolving our work teams and bringing the entire staff back into the building.
Luckily, I am not the person who has to make any of those kinds of decisions for our library. So I will just keep on keeping on and doing what I can do to help our community and keep everyone as safe as possible.
How are things where you are?