Friday, November 30, 2018

Twelve Days of Giving

It's the season for gift giving and books make such great gifts that I'm bringing back a feature that I've done on this blog before: 12 Days of Giving. Starting tomorrow, each day for the next 12 days I'll post a themed list of gift ideas for the kids in your life.

Why give books? Research has indicated that having books in the home is strongly linked to academic achievement. You're setting kids up for success when you give them books. Plus, books are amazing and provide hours of fun and learning way after the tree is down and the toys have run down their batteries. And I know you are here because you are a book lover. Spread that love with the kids in your life!

But how to choose the right books? That's where I come in with themed lists for the next 12 days. I'll be sharing some of my favorite gift books for a variety of ages and interests. I'd also be happy to make suggestions for any specific folks you're buying for this season - let me know ages/interests (including adults!) in the comments and I will be happy to help!

Please don't forget your local indie bookstores this holiday season! If you don't have a favorite indie bookstore, let me suggest visiting or ordering online from The Brain Lair in South Bend, IN. Kathy Burnette is one of us - a kidlit blogger and former school librarian - who recently opened her dream bookstore. She carries an amazing array of inclusive books for all ages!

I'll update this page as I add lists. You can also check out the label Twelve Days of Giving to see all the lists I've posted (and lists from previous years!). And remember to let me know if you're shopping for someone specific and I will be happy to help!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

If You Galley Chatted...

If you tuned in to this afternoon's Early Word MG/YA Galley Chat (which you can still do by checking out the Twitter hashtag #ewgcya), you heard about:

Tiffany D. Jackson's upcoming novel 

Let Me Hear a Rhyme (Katherine Tegen, May 2019)

Brandy Colbert's upcoming novel 

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (Little, Brown, August 2019)

Meredith Russo's upcoming novel 

Birthday (Flatiron, May 2019)

The sequel to Claire Legrand's Furyborn

Kingsbane (Sourcebooks Fire, May 2019)

Debut author Sabina Khan's 

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali (Scholastic, January 2019)

And WAY MORE! You can find the complete list posted on Edelweiss here. Make sure you check it out to get a head's up on some of librarians' most anticipated YA and middle grade titles. 

This was the last YA/MG Galley Chat of the year, but mark your calendars for January's chat on Thursday, January 24 from 2:30-3:30pm Eastern Time. Not only is it a great place to hear about upcoming books, but it's a great opportunity to connect with other librarians who love looking forward to and talking about upcoming books!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Do You GalleyChat?

Do you know about EarlyWord's monthly Galley Chats on Twitter? They are not only super fun but can also be great collection development tools, even if you're not able to make the live discussion. I have noticed that while the adult galley chat is always robust with lots of participants, there are not as many voices joining in to the YA/middle grade chats. I would love for more of you to join us, so I thought I'd give a little rundown of what Galley Chat is and how it can be helpful.

Screenshot of a tweet from last month's
YA/middle grade GalleyChat

What is GalleyChat? 

It's just what it sounds like: librarians chatting about galleys, i.e. upcoming books we're excited about. Participants share super-brief reviews of galleys they have read and/or tweet about upcoming titles they're excited about. Sometimes publishers join in to spread the word about their upcoming titles and to hear what librarians are buzzing about.

When is GalleyChat?

There are two live Twitter chats each month - one for adult titles and one for YA/middle grade titles. You can always find the schedule for upcoming chats on EarlyWord (in the left-hand bar near the top). Typically the adult chat is the first Tuesday of the month and the YA/middle grade chat is more towards the end of the month and rotates Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday.

So, how does it work?

If you want to participate, all you have to do is be on Twitter at the designated time and use the hashtag #ewgc (adult) or #ewgcya (YA/middle grade) on your tweets. You can use a platform like TweetChat to help you follow the conversation, but I usually just use the Twitter website on my desktop computer. I like to have a second tab open with notifications so I can switch back and forth easily.

What's in it for me?

As a collection development librarian, I find it extremely useful to participate as often as I can. Not only do I hear about all kinds of upcoming titles so I can put them on my radar, it also gives me the chance to talk up titles I've been reading. And it's a monthly reminder to be seeking out, reading, and nominating titles (especially inclusive titles!) for LibraryReads. Not to mention, it's a great way to connect with other librarians who are in the business of collection development and reader's advisory.

Often I hear about new-to-me books and they're readily available as digital review copies that I can download right away. Sometimes, publishers even offer to send print ARCs to folks participating in the chat.

I can't make the chat; I have a program/on desk/a meeting/etc. etc.

Never fear! The wonderful folks organizing the chats compile the list of books mentioned in the chat each month. You can find them on Participating in the chat is a fun way to meet and interact with other librarians interested in what's new and upcoming, but you can totally use these compiled lists to help with your collection development even if you can never make the meetings.

I hope you'll join us for GalleyChat! The next YA/middle grade Galley Chat will be held on Wednesday, November 28 from 2:30pm-3:30pm.

Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone; I hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cybils Season

I'm late in writing about this - Cybils season has been going on since October 1 - but I want to share this great resource with you since you can use it to help you spend your budget money. What are the Cybils? The Cybils are the Children's and Young Adult Blogger Literary Awards, book awards that have been given out by Children's and YA bloggers since 2006. The judges are all kidlit bloggers and they aim to choose books that have a blend of high literary merit and kid appeal.

One amazing thing about the Cybils is that the organizers provide an amazing amount of transparency. You can see exactly who the judges are and who has nominated what. You can see what books have been nominated and ANYONE can make one nomination per category.

And it's these nominations that I find really useful at this time of year. I'm at the point in the year when I'm trying to wrap up my spending before our purchasing cut-off. I want to try to make sure I didn't miss anything, since it'll be a couple of months before I can start placing regular orders again as we close out the books on 2018. The Cybils nominees are often books that have high kid appeal, so I love to check out what's on those nomination lists each year.

Particularly helpful to me are the categories that have high circulation at my library but are rarely professionally reviewed: board books and easy readers. I also pay special attention to the picture books and graphic novel lists as those categories also check out frequently. Of course, I read professional reviews of these titles, too, but the nomination lists can bring titles to my attention that I may have missed.

There are a bunch of nomination categories, so whatever age you buy for, you're likely to find something that could help you out. Don't miss this great resource!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

One State One Story

This October, my library participated in Indiana's One State One Story program celebrating the 200th anniversary of the original publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. We've not done a program like this during my time at the library and I was so interested to see how it would go. I wasn't certain we could get people interested in reading a classic or engaging with us about it.

Abby holding up our Frankenstein event booklet.

It turns out we had a total blast and I can't wait for our next community read!

Not everything we tried was successful, but here are some things that made our community read a success for us:

  • Staff buy-in. We ordered everyone Frankenstein t-shirts that they could wear on Fridays or days that we had Frankenstein programs. Our town harvest festival happened during this month and we themed our library booth around Frankenstein and STEM, showing off our new 3D printer from the Makerspace at our branch and providing science activities for kids to stop in and try. This gave our staff concrete ways they could engage patrons in the discussion, whether or not staff members were willing to read Frankenstein (some did, some didn't). 
  • Marketing! Our marketing director created a really snazzy-looking booklet with all the Frankenstein related events so we could promote everything at once. 
  • Giveaway copies. We won 50 copies of Frankenstein as part of our grant from Indiana Humanities, but we ended up purchasing 100 additional copies so that we could give out copies to all our book discussion participants and to other patrons throughout the month. This was possible in part because this particular book has many versions and is available at an affordable price. Being able to actually hand patrons a free copy got them excited about it and each copy had discussion questions inside (more on that later). 
  • A variety of events. We hosted STEM and Frankenstein-themed children's and teen programs, as well as a variety of programs for adults. Some of these were grant-funded and some were paid for from our normal programming budget.
  • Special book discussions. Instead of just holding our book discussions at the library, we held a Frankenstein Tea at a local state historic home and at our Carnegie building (which is now a museum branch of the library). These extra touches (and FOOD!) gave these events some additional appeal. 
One of the things that I tried and that flopped was posting discussion questions on our Facebook account throughout the month. My thinking was that people who might not come out for a program might prefer to engage that way and participate in the discussion. I used Indiana Humanities' "big idea" questions because they are more general questions that mostly do not require you to have read the book and linked to the downloadable ebook and audiobook available through Hoopla. I did not get any engagement on those posts, even when I commented and shared them myself. I still think there's something in creating an online book discussion, but next time I'd experiment with some different platforms, or maybe hold a discussion at a certain time, like a Twitter chat or even Facebook Live? 

Book discussion leaders posing with tea and a book at the Culbertson Mansion.

My big event of the month was our book discussion and tea, held at the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site. It was really neat to be having a literary discussion in a similar kind of environment to where Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein. It was my first time hosting a book discussion for adults and I was not sure how it was going to go. I utilized some of the discussion tips from the Indiana Humanities event guide and the event went REALLY well. 

I opened up our talk by asking everyone to go around and say their name and one word that describes how they feel about the advances in science and technology in our world. This was a nice icebreaker with vary varied responses that helped get the conversation started. I had prepared a TON of discussion questions beforehand, but I wanted the conversation to flow from the participants, so I let that happen as much as possible and only chimed in with my questions if we seemed to have reached a stopping point. I wish I had made the event longer - we could have talked about Frankenstein for another hour, I think! 

Lots of libraries around the state participated in One State One Story and I'm pleased that it was so well-received by our patrons and staff. I can't wait to hold another one! 

Have you done a community read at your library? What tips would you share? 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Four Crossover Books by Native American Authors

November is Native American Heritage Month and it's a great time to promote Native American authors. Of course, you can and SHOULD be doing this throughout the year, but I know this is a time of year when folks might be particularly paying attention. There have been some AMAZING books by Native American authors published in 2018 and here are some of my favorites. Bonus: these titles, two published for teens and two published for adults, are all great crossovers for both teens and adults.

Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. 432 pages). It's 1980 and Carson has his heart set on winning Battle of the Bands. One problem - he needs a band. Second problem - he's caught up in a movement against a racist restaurant owner that ends up meaning more than Carson ever imagined. Maggi has just moved back to the Tuscarora reservation after years of living as a "City Indian" and she's desperate to get out of making the traditional bead art that her family sells and make her own art. With a strong sense of time and place, and The Beatles tying everything together, this is a novel for teen or adult readers of John Green or fans of classic rock. This one's published for teens, but adults who have '80s nostalgia or love music will dig it, too.

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2018. 304 pages). When Louise's boyfriend mocks Native people in front of her, she dumps him over email. It's her senior year and Lou doesn't have time for anyone who's going to disrespect her people. She concentrates on navigating relationships and her Muscogee culture while competing for bylines on her school's newspaper. When a huge story breaks - a controversy about the non-white casting for the school musical The Wizard of Oz - Lou finds herself in the middle of it as her little brother, cast as the Tin Man, starts becoming a target of attacks. Here you'll find a super smart protagonist trying to balance romance and her principles while learning more about life and herself each day. Hand this to readers of contemporary social justice titles like Love, Hate and Other Filters. Published for teens, adult readers of contemporary YA will dig this one, too.

There, There by Tommy Orange (Knopf, 2018. 294 pages). Alternating viewpoints tell a story of a wide cast of intergenerational Native American characters, all building up to a modern powwow in Oakland, California. Each character has a reason for traveling to the powwow and they are connected in unexpected ways. Readers of character-driven fiction will love getting to know these characters and piecing together their connections. Hand this to readers of literary urban fiction. Published for adults, teens, especially lovers of urban fiction, will find characters here to identify with.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press, 2018. 287 pages). After the Big Water, not much is left of North America except the Navajo reservation Dinetah, protected by walls that their leaders had the foresight to build. But with the rise of the waters came the end of the Fifth World and the beginning of the Sixth and the return of mythical monsters to Dinetah. Maggie is a monsterslayer - a vocation she's particularly suited to due to her supernatural Clan gifts. But now there is a new kind of monster appearing in the mountains - a monster that must have been created by humans. And Maggie, who always works alone, must join forces with an apprentice medicine man to seek out the evil that's taken root in her home. This is an action-packed, blood-soaked read by an Ohkay Owingeh author, perfect for fans of urban fantasy. Published for adults, there is definitely teen crossover potential for teens who don't mind a bloody story.

There's no better time than the present to pick up or hand a reader a book by a Native author. Have you read any of these? What did you think?