Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Four famous authors...what they really think about the SAT

So this sounds interesting.

"Forget English Class, What I Really Want To Do Is Write!"

Lauren McLaughlin. David Levithan. Scott Westerfeld. Robin Wasserman.

Scott Westerfeld, David Levithan, Robin Wasserman and Lauren McLaughlin will be chatting online about SAT testing and how it affects creative processes such as writing.  To prepare for the discussion, Scott Westerfeld and Lauren McLaughlin took an actual SAT test and had it scored by a professional examiner.  You'll get to hear about their thoughts and results (!) during the chat.

You can submit questions and follow their chat hereThursday, December 8th at 7pm EST.

Information courtesy of scottwesterfeld.com

Friday, December 2, 2011

Author interview: Christopher Paolini

Some readers love him, others can't stand the books.  I thought this might interest some of you though, it's an interview with Christopher Paolini about his Inheritance series, now that it's complete.

What Began in Eragon Ends in Inheritance
As a teenager, Christopher Paolini took the world by storm with Eragon, the first book in his Inheritance Cycle, which became a phenomenal international bestseller and the basis for a major motion picture. Now, with the publication of Inheritance, Paolini concludes his young adult saga of dragons, fantasy, and adventure.

News and Reviews for the Youth Librarian recently caught up with Paolini and asked him how his life has changed since the publication of his first book, and what’s ahead in the future.

First off, congratulations on the publication of the fourth—and final—volume in the Inheritance Cycle! As a wunderkind of young adult fantasy, you became an international publishing sensation. How has your life changed since life as a homeschooled student? What are you most proud of in this journey of personal growth?
When I was a child, I never intended to become a writer. In fact, for a long time I thought I would grow up to be an artist, since I love drawing and painting. Bit by bit, however, writing the Inheritance Cycle consumed my life.
The success of my books has given me the opportunity to tour the United States, Canada, and Europe and meet thousands of my fans. This experience has given me a deeper understanding of people and helped me gain confidence as a public speaker and as a person.
I’ve become aware of the effect that stories can have on people’s lives as fans share how my characters’ actions have inspired them to deal with the difficulties in their lives in a more positive way. And I feel honored and humble when young people tell me that my work has inspired them to read more widely or write stories of their own.
It’s a strange and wonderful feeling to know that so many people have read my books. That my story has been so popular is a source of never-ending amazement to me, and I am immensely grateful for the support of my fans around the world.

At the 2011 BEA, you received the Guinness World Record as the youngest author to have sold the most books. What does it mean to you to be a Guinness World Record holder?
I used to drive my parents crazy reading facts to them from these books. I loved those books, and I still do. So to actually hold a Guinness World Record is extremely cool!

There will be a great exhalation from your fans on the day Inheritance is released! Their questions will finally be answered. What hints can you give us about the plot threads and loose ends that will be tied up in this epic conclusion to the series?
Ahh, plot threads, loose ends . . . hints? Hmm. Well, I can tell you that all the major characters have intense roles to play in Inheritance. And that many more werecats show up. And that it has lots of battles, romance, a goodly helping of magic, deadly amethyst crystals, and something that says, “scree-scree”.

With each successive book, how has your writing developed? Did the story meander far from your original vision?
I still have my original outline and first draft of Eragon. I was thumbing through those pages recently and was interested to see that the story arc is basically intact, although some of the characters move in different, more nuanced directions than I originally planned. Of course the final story is much richer than my initial conception. The characters of Angela the herbalist, Nasuada, and Sloan, for example, developed substantially as I wrote the books.
With Eragon, I was simply trying to write a good story, one that I would enjoy reading. I never expected it to be published. When I began Eldest, I felt challenged to repeat my accomplishment of actually writing a book, while also putting into practice all I had learned from my editor. So I decided to try writing from several points of view. I also took the time to develop my invented languages more fully, which was, perhaps, the most difficult part of writing Eldest.
Brisingr brought a new set of challenges. First, I had decided to try and write a chapter from the dragon Saphira’s point of view (that was actually a lot of fun). More seriously, I thought I was writing the conclusion of the story. I had always envisioned the adventure as a trilogy. But as I wrote through my outline, and it kept expanding, I realized that I had too much story to put into one book and that I would need another to do justice to the characters and plot. And that led me to write Inheritance.

Any new Inheritance Cycle movies being planned?
I’m not sure. Like many fans, I’m interested to know if any more movies will be made, but that is in the hands of the folks at the Fox 2000 movie company.

What will you do, now that the Inheritance Cycle is complete? Do you have any other projects in the works?
First I’ll be traveling on book tour around the United States and Canada. After the holidays I’ll probably do some touring overseas. Once I return home, I plan to take a break and catch up on my reading. I have many other tales to tell, in fantasy and other genres. When I’m ready, I’ll choose the one that inspires me most and dive into it.

And finally:  May your sword stay sharp!
And yours as well! Thank you for allowing me to answer a few questions for your readers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New books for December!

 Here are the new titles for December.  I think this month wins for creepy covers.  Don't forget to check out the Goodreads links for summaries and reviews!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

National Gaming Day...let them eat cake!

Saturday was National Gaming Day.  Unfortunately, being on a weekend the library did not do anything interesting.  (However, in two years it will fall on a Monday and Woah Nellie, you bet we'll do something big then!)

I did find this very appropriate link to share with you all in honor of National Gaming Day.  Are you familiar with Cake Wrecks?  It's a popular website that mocks really awful cakes.  Every once in a while they celebrate really awesome cakes though and incidentially just did a post about game cakes.

Here are two of my favorites.

 How awesome is that?  It looks like you could actually pick up the balls and play a game on the cake!

 This game was a lifesaver back in my babysitting days.  I wonder if it tastes as good as it looks?

You can see more cool gaming cakes here at the cake wrecks website.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Books for November!

The new books are out and flying off the shelves, here are some cover shots to peak your interest! 

There are a lot of great sequels and trilogy enders here.  Did you like Maze Runner?  Well the final thrilling conclusion, Death Cure, is out.  Scott Westerfeld's Goliath is here and how sad I am to see that great trilogy end!  Did you read The Magicians by Lev Grossman?  Then you might be interested in The Magician King.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Hallows Read!

Have you heard of All Hallow's Read?  If not, you are in for a real treat (not trick...promise).

Here, Neil Gaiman can explain it much better than I...

So read a book, give a book!  Here in the library I am giving away books!  For you to keep!  Stop by and a copy of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven will be yours forever.

And if you're wanting to read a scary book this Halloween, come by the library and check out the New Book shelf, it's been stocked with all sorts of tales of terror.  I've got your ghosts, your vampires, your walking dead and for those really brave check out The Monstrumologist.  It's not for the faint of heart and only a few make it all the way through.  Check it out if you dare.  *muhahahahahaha*

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mrs. Julsonnet's Library Club of Superb Awesomeness

Do you wonder what sorts of things we get up to in the library club?  Well, we just finished our first project and next month we'll be traveling to New York City to participate in the first ever 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.

The club members have been working diligently, putting in hours after school and during lunch to create their film for the festival.  Interestingly, the Newbery winning book they chose was The Giver by Lois Lowry (This  is not to be confused with the play being produced by LCDS students which runs next week).

With the help of the 3rd grade students and the generous loaning of several props by Mrs. Kraft's Preschool class, Mrs. Julsonnet's Library Club of Superb Awesomeness proudly present their entry for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A fox coming to a box near you!

Who doesn't like Johnny Depp?  How about Johnny Depp as the infamous Dr. Seuss?  Word is, Johnny Depp is not only going to produce a film about the great Theodor Geisel, he might also be cast in the starring role.

Hmmm...I can see it.  The Hollywood Reporter article here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Books For October!

Here are cover shots and Goodread reviews/summaries to all of the new books in the library this month.  Stop by the library and take a look, check some out- there are some really great titles!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Book Week

Today kicks off the start of Banned Book Week.  Stop the library and take a look at some of the books which have been banned over the years.  I think you'll be surprised at what you find

Readers and writers unite!  People from all over the world have joined together to create a Banned Book Week's Virtual Read-Out. Chris Crutcher below (one of YA's top banned authors) reads from a banned book. 

You can view all of the videos so far on the Banned Book Week Channel.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy ye scurvy swabs!

Stop by the library to for fun activities and the chance to hunt for buried treasure!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If you're going to destroy a book, destroy it beautifully!

How awesome is this?

A secret admirer of libraries has been leaving gorgeous works of book art in various library and library type establishments all over Scotland.

I particularly like the dragon that was left at the Scottish Storytelling Center.  The note accompanying it made me rather weepy!

We’ll have to stay turned to see if they discover who the mysterious benefactor is and what connection he has to Ian Rankin!

Link courtesy of Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Roald Dahl was a very strange man...

Though, if you've read his books you could probably have figured that out.  Here's a fan letter response he wrote to a group of school children.

Courtesy of Buzz Feed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Guess the covers, win a prize!

Update:  Check below for a hint on #10

Can you guess the book titles for these covers?  The first Middle School and Upper School student to correctly identify all fourteen thirteen titles will win a prize!

What kind of prize, you ask? Well it could be anything from a Starbucks gift card to books to chocolate to a pencil. Or it could be all of the above. :)

We have a 6th grade winner!


There are runner up prizes for those who want to continue trying so keep those guesses coming!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Booktalk! Joe Rat

I admit I did not have high expectations for this story as it has kind of a crummy cover.  And I know you’re not suppose to but I usually judge a book by its cover.

So let me just say first off, wow.  Scary, dark, gritty, tragic and uplifting are some of the words I came up with to describe what I thought after reading it.

7th graders will do a Victorian Project with Ms. Munson this year.  I highly recommend that you read this book first because it will definitely peak your interest in the topic.

Joe is a street kid, he’s known as a ‘tosher’; someone who crawls down into the sewers and sifts through the filth and sludge looking for things that have been lost down the drains.  It’s a nasty job and the author pulls no punches in his descriptions.  Joe is trapped in a cruel life.  He owes money to a wicked criminal mastermind known as Mother so he spends his days running between her and the sewers and trying to stay one step ahead of the thugs roaming the streets.

Despite all this hardship and injustice, Joe seems to manage to still be a pretty nice kid.  So when he finds a young runaway girl he can’t help but try and save her.  What unfurls is an adventure of Victorian proportions; you’ll be chased down the slums and back alleys of the London rookeries. You’ll witness children sold like animals at market and hear the howls of a madman who haunts a cemetery. You’ll practically be able to smell the fields in the country-side and then the foul stench of the city.

I know I’ve been talking about the descriptions a lot but they make up such an integral part of the story, its hard not to go on about them.  So, to give you a taste I’ll quote a snippet from the beginning of the book which really captures the style and essence of the story.

Darker than the dirt of the street, a creature emerged, dripping. Crouched, cowering on all fours, its head swayed this way and that, checking up and down the street. It could have been a dog. It was too big for a cat. Then, as the creature straightened up, the whites of its eyes caught the light.  It was a boy.

I’m making this sound like a really gruesome book but actually Joe is such a likeable character that you root for him from beginning to end.  And every time he skips out of danger you cheer and wait to see how he does against the next adversary.

However, if you read this book at night, you’ll definitely want to leave a light on when you go to bed.

Booktalk! The Floating Islands

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumier

Imagine entire cities that rest on huge chunks of land which float in the air.  How cool is that?  And kind of scary.  Nobody really knows what holds the islands up, they know it’s dragon magic but they don’t know how it works.

The Floating Islands begins under sad circumstances.  Fourteen-year-old Trei has come to live with his uncle’s family after his previous home was destroyed by a Vesuvius-like eruption.  At first he’s numb with grief but slowly as he opens up under his uncle’s kindness, we get to know more about him and his new home.

This story is actually kind of awesome because it’s done in a way that can appeal to girls and boys.  Trei’s story rotates with that of his cousin, Araene.  They each get a chapter and each story is unique.  As soon as Trei comes to the island and sees the men who fly through the air using special wings, he knows he wants to be one of them.  This will not be an easy task, the flying school is hard to get into, only a handful of boys are admitted and they only hold testing every few years.  And to make it even more difficult, he’s not considered an islander by many and only islanders are permitted to learn the dragon magic that allows the men to fly. 

At the same time his cousin yearns to be a renowned chef, to go to school and to explore a world outside the confines of their household. But in a culture where girls are expected to be mothers and wives but little else, this doesn’t seem possible.

And this is only the set up of the first few chapters!  Along the way there will be flying school and magic school, new friends, a plague that sweeps the island and looming war with another nation.   Trei and Araene will be put to the test and their determination to help those around them will either save the islands or destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New books for August & September!

Phew!  This was a lot of work.  The amount of books is double what we normally have since it's for two months and it took forever to find cover shots of everything.  Plus, I'm not sure I like how they all line up.  I included a link to Goodreads, it gives a summary and allows you to read reviews.

Let me know if you want to continue having the covers posted - if not I'll just send out the monthly email with new titles and summaries!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Voting is open for the Annual Top Ten Teen Picks!

Picture courtesy of Teen Librarian's Toolbox

Once a year teens around the country vote on the best ten books published that current year.

You can vote too!  

Just click on the link below and select your top ten favorite books of 2011.  Nominations will be open from August 15th - September 16th.  The winners will be announced during Teen Read Week and published on the American Library Association website.  It's a huge honor to make the list so be sure to nominate your favorite titles!

The 25 nominees are (I marked the ones we currently have in our library):

  • Bachorz, Pam.  Drought

  • Beam, Cris.  I Am J

  • Beaudoin, Sean.  You Killed Wesley Payne

  • Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier.  Zombies vs. Unicorns LCDS

  • Card, Orson Scott.  The Lost Gate 

  • Clare, Cassandra.  The Clockwork Angel LCDS

  • Collins, Suzanne.  Mockingjay LCDS

  • Collins, Yvonne.  Love, Inc

  • Condie, Ally.  Matched LCDS

  • Cremer, Andrea.  Nightshade

  • Fitzpatrick, Becca.  Crescendo

  • Grant, Michael.  Lies

  • Hawkins, Rachel.  Demonglass LCDS

  • Hakwins, Rachel.  Hex Hall LCDS

  • Kagawa, Julie.  The Iron King

  • Lore, Pittacus.  I Am Number Four

  • Moore, Peter.  Red Moon Rising

  • Nelson, Jandy.  The Sky is Everywhere

  • Oliver, Lauren.  Before I Fall

  • O’Neal, Ellis.  The False Princess LCDS

  • Patterson, James.  Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel

  • Pearce, Jackson.  Sisters Red

  • Smith, Cynthia Leitich.  Blessed

  • Westerfeld, Scott.  Behemoth LCDS

  • White, Kiersten.  Paranormalcy LCDS

  • Vote for your favorites!


    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    New books coming soon to a school near you!

    Look what was waiting for me today!

    The cat can't read so he's mostly interested in the box but I assure you, there are some great titles in here.

    With some assistance from my helpful sidekick,  I'll surely have it done by the time school starts.  Next month I'll post cover shots and summaries of all the new books for the fall so be sure to check back here for updates!

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Book Talk! Akata Witch

    Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

    Okay, I'll confess something to you all.  I initially only picked up this book to read because it was one of the last books to be read and reviewed by Diana Wynne Jones, a very talented author who passed away a couple months ago.  If you're familiar with Howl's Moving Castle, she wrote that and the sequel Castle in the Air.  She also wrote The Enchanted Glass (which is a lot of fun and available in the library).

    Oops, off topic- back to Akata Witch...

    ...anyway so I bought this book for the library because Diana Wynne Jones (have I mentioned how amazing she is?) wrote an excellent review about how awesome it was and how everyone should read it.

    It seems like a lot of magic and fantasy books these days take off in the vein of Harry Potter.  And I love those books but sometimes you don't realize the sameness of them all until you find something new and special.  Akata Witch takes place in Africa, Nigeria to be specific, and the magic is so different and real that you find yourself completely sucked in and believing.

    Sunny is twelve years old, she moved to Nigeria from America five years before. Her parents are Nigerian but she was born in New York City and finds herself caught between two worlds, is she Nigerian or American?  She also has to deal with the fact that she is an albino which gives her pale skin that burns instantly, (an unfortunate circumstance if you live in Africa!) and coarse yellow hair.  She's considered an outcast from her schoolmates until one day she gets in fight, makes a couple enemies but also a couple new friends.  And that's only the beginning, pretty soon she discovers that she is one of the 'Leopard People', a free agent with strong magic abilities that she must learn to harness because there is a killer on the loose who is stealing young children.

    The magic is incredibly complex and exciting and steeped in African mythology.  There may not be wands but there is something just as good (I won't give it away but it's pretty cool and makes a lot more sense then a wand...)

    This book is special, anyone interested in magic or sorcery or Nigerian culture should definitely check it out. And even if you're not interested in those things, it's a great book about people thrown together who are completely different but learn to be the best of friends. And if you're not interested in that, well it's an intense story with some nail-biting life or death action.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Luka and the Fire of Life animated films

    Middle School English students have a lot of required reading.  And one (as you all know!) is Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories.  Mr. Rushdie is also famous for writing a lovely book called Luka and the Fire of Life.

    Students at Kingston University in London were asked to create short films animating Luka's story.  The winning entry is here:

    There were three runners-up as well.

    You can read the full article posted in the Guardian here.

    If these films have peaked your interest in taking a further look at Luka and the Fire of Life, make sure you stop by and see Mrs. Julsonnet when you get back to school! We have a new copy in the library waiting to be checked out.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Summer fun in the library!

    There has been a lot of stuff happening in the library this summer!

     Can anyone spot Mrs. J's desk under all those books?

    All of  these books are here because they aren't on the shelves!

    Stay tuned for further developments, what else will the library get up to?