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Waiting on Wednesday - Texting the Underworldby Ellen Booraem
I discovered this one while doing my chapter book ordering and I’m not going to have to wait long - it comes out on August 15th! But this is a book about a severely anxious kid, Conor, with a grandfather who raises him with Irish mythology. Then a Banshee moves into his closet because of an impending death which, for obvious reasons, sends Conor’s anxieties into overdrive.
So I adore fairytales and fairytale creatures showing up in real life. I love books about people with anxieties (overidentify much? Probably). I love close families (and from the descriptions, Conor is especially close to his sister and his grandfather). OH! I forgot to mention - to save the person who will die, Conor ends up going into the underworld which is another trope that I just adore. How could I not share with you this middle grade novel that I’m super excited about?
I’m planning to give it to those fans of Percy Jackson who wants something else with a modern take on folklore, fans of The Chronicles of Prydain (or maybe I’ll get kids to read this then get ‘em hooked on Prydain! Not enough people read Lloyd Alexander anymore), and kids who are in the mood for something hysterical (at least Kirkus calls it “frequently hysterical”).
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I got a galley for Swans and Klons by Nora Olsen ages ago but I kept putting off reading it because I really dislike the cover (I know I’m shallow. I’m sorry!), but then I saw it featured on a couple of lists of new books with QUILTBAG characters and since I’m always a sucker for that I had to read.
The basic premise is that men went “cretinous” awhile back so women learned to clone themselves. There are 300 different “jeepie” types that women are cloned from so you see your “jeepie similars” everywhere. The big catch is that there are two different types of Clones. The Pannas or Humans who are the priviledged ladies of society and the slave Klons who are different “on a molecular level” and therefore not Humans. Two Pannas, Rubric and Salmon Jo (Pannas are all named after nouns) learn a “terrifying secret” about the Klons (which I’m sure everyone guessed reading the description above but that didn’t ruin the read for me) and their life changes forever!
Since there’s only women and girls in Society, everyone’s a lesbian and that was considered normal (for obvious reasons). The plot was fun and fast paced. I wish Olsen had had a better editor? There was a lot of clunkiness in the writing that could have been smoothed over and I also wanted the book to be about twice as long. The plot jumps from thing to thing trying to get it all in and I wanted her to take her time and flesh out her ideas more. OVerall though, I’m glad I read it and will be glad to recommend it in the future.
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Can we discuss Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz? Because it is everything I didn’t know I wanted in a book. Queer characters! Disturbing utopias set right in our regular world! Creepy-ass fishboys with deep-set mommy issues! Magical fish! Ugh - I loved it. So I was walking around ALA when I came upon the authors reading spot and Hannah Moskowitz was reading a selection from Teeth. I’d missed the beginning so I spent the whole reading being supremely confused but not really caring because it was so good. Afterwards she was signing and giving away copies of Teeth and she is just the most delightful person ever. ! And considering how much I had to do that day? It was totally useful.
I don’t want to booktalk teeth so much because part of the beauty of the book is how everything just unfolds and you realize more and more things? Also between the sex and the swearing it’s firmly YA (I tend to review YA and kids books around here so it’s important I make that distinction), so don’t go giving it to just any fan of The Little Mermaid, but that teenager who still loves TLM but wants something quite a bit edgier? This’ll make her happy.
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I just devoured After Iris by Natasha Farrant and oh my goodness it was lovely. Twelve year old Bluebell (her parents named all their children after plants as an homage to their forgotten hippie days) is one of 5 kids. She and her twin sister Iris were inseparable until 3 years ago when Iris was killed. Now her family seems to be falling apart - both of her parents have jobs that keep them away for weeks at a time, her older sister suddenly has pink dreads, and her younger two siblings need more. Zoran, their au pair, is wonderful but everything seems to be spiraling out of Blue’s control.
Can I just say that there is nothing that drives me battier than bad parenting. I wanted to sit these two parents down and remind them that while they are dealing with Ivy’s death SO ARE THEIR CHILDREN. THEIR FOUR LIVING CHILDREN WHO LOVE THEM AND NEED THEM AROUND. But that’s part of what makes this book so great - I cared so much and so deeply about all these people and can’t wait for the copies that I ordered for my library to arrive so I can start giving it to patrons.
This book will be great for fans of Reel Life Starring Us (both main characters are aspiring directors who are dealing with big family and social issues), Looking for Red by Angela Johnson (both main characters are dealing with the death of a beloved sibling) (also oh my goodness I love that new cover! So much better than the dated cover I’ve got here at my library. Maybe that one would circ more - hmmm), orEach Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles (both have that sort of intense, poignant feel that pulls you through and leaves you crying in the break room at work even though nothing especially traumatizing has happened yet).
(Many thanks to Netgalley for the ARC)
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OHMIGOSH it was the best ever. Our normal storytimes are half an hour but this one was 45 minutes to add in a bit of teaching. For the most part it was a regular storytime but the catch was that everything was digital. We hooked our laptop up to the digital projector thingie which projected onto the big screen on the wall. Our music was from Overdrive as well as one of the books. We did two books through tumblebooks, and a handful of fingerplays through youtube. Before every element I gave a short lesson what I was doing (long enough to hopefully make sense but short enough that I didn’t lose the kids), “This next book we’re going to read through Tumblebooks! Tumblebooks is a database the library subscribes to so you can find these right on our website under resources then it’s all alphabetical so if you scroll down to T you can click on Tumblebooks!” Then the next time I used that same resource I expanded a little on that explanation. “We’re reading this book in English but Tumblebooks has a great Spanish selection as well as some super fun nonfiction books that you can sort by reading level and they even have Accelerated Reader information for all their titles!”
After the storytime was over I invited anyone with questions to stay behind and I would run them through anything they wanted. My coworker brought in a basket of big trucks and dinosaurs to keep kids happy while I showed the parents exactly how to find tumblebooks and showed 2 families how Overdrive works with their devices (everyone was already good on how to use Youtube). It was awesome.
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I work this weekend and I’m trying to figure out which of these stylish ensembles to emulate Saturday and which to emulate Sunday. Any advice?
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Word of advice - if you are making pool noodle light sabers for May the forth, use black electrical tape instead of black making tape because the making tape will peel right up and you’ll have to rep your art.
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I’m weeding today and as I weed I’ve been thinking about all those little things I do when I weed that I think makes weeding more effective/more efficient/more fun - these tips are the reason that I can make weeding an ongoing constant thing and I don’t have to do a huge once a year weed.
If I typed them all up with pictures and examples, would y’all think that was helpful or would it be dry boring school stuff that y’all know already? (Side note: I probably wouldn’t get around to typing this up until Friday, my day off, so if the answer is yes, it’ll be a few)
Appy Hour: Felt Board
This app is based on actual felt boards. Choose your character, setting, and props and then the only limit is your imagination. And the pieces will never get lost because it’s all in an app. This could be adapted for storytime too.
More information can be found here.
Every Thursday afternoon, we feature an app handpicked by our staff.
Oh, I love this! I might just have to play around with this.
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