Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes

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Paolo rides his bike through the hills of Florence at night.  Paolo’s father is away, working as a valuable member of the resistance and Paolo wants to help stop the Nazi occupation too.  One night, while riding his bike, Paolo is stopped by Partisans, members of the Italian resistance movement, and told to give his mother a message: they want the family to hide two escaped POWs in their house.  Paolo agrees to escort the POWs and two of them narrowly escapes when they are ambushed. The closer the allies are to liberating Florence, the more danger Paolo and his family are in. Continue reading

My Great Reading Experiment

copyright DG Library 2010Without realizing it, I conducted my own reading experiment in October.  When we were on our summer vacation, I downloaded lots of books onto my iPad.  These were books for pleasure…something I haven’t been able to do for sometime now.  I found I liked reading books on my iPad.  The problem with reading juvenile materials digitally, is that the newest books are often not available.  When I’m reading for my job, I want to read the books found on our new book cart.  The backlist is great, but I read those when they came out.  I need to keep going with the new.

Well, that’s all well and good, but there was a flaw in that plan…I haven’t been reading.  I’ve been in a reading funk for several years now.  I just don’t have the desire to read for pleasure. 

Back to my experiment…  I found myself reading lots of romance novels this fall.   I haven’t read a good romance novel in sometime. Well, now I understand the appeal  of juvenile series books:  One title feeds into another.  It’s nice to have old characters slide into new stories.  Well, somewhere along the way I found myself reading about one book a day.  Zoomed right through them.  This was entertainment, I wasn’t allured by BravoTv… nope I’d rather have a book.  I’m not sure what it was about my autumn 2013 that created a need to read so many of these books.  We all have reading seasons and this happened to be mine, apparently.

I was just happy to be reading again.  Really, I felt the joy that a good story can bring.  I felt the pull to read another one. Over and over and over. And then I decided that I needed to challenge myself. Can I read one book a day for the month of October?  It turns out I can.  I did.  I loved it.  I felt like a kid again.  Back to my first love (no, not the romance, but the reading!)!

Whatever hurdle I’ve been facing seemed to vanish.  And, I thought, that if I can whip out these books, maybe just maybe I’d be back to perpetual reading for work.

I haven’t actually started the reading of the juvenile fiction to see if the experiment worked… I actually gave myself the weekend to finish up the last of the romance series.  And I had a Booklist review due.   But I have an assignment due for next week…so stay tuned.  Maybe, just maybe the great reading funk has come to an end!  (fingers crossed)

PS: the Great Reading Experiment was the name of our summer reading.  That’s a copyrighted logo. If you use it, please give credit to the library.

PPS: I read a few series this fall, but the one that kept me reading was the Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery.  Great fun.

 

The Short Seller by Elissa Brent Weissman

short sellerLindy is sick at home.  She has mononucleosis and can’t leave the house for more than a month.  Not that she minds missing math. One morning, Lindy’s dad asks her to help him buy stock online.  She does but doesn’t quite understand what she did.  As her dad explains it to her, suddenly math doesn’t seem so hard.  Lindy gets excited at the idea of making money online.

To help ease her boredom, Lindy’s dad gives her $100 to trade stocks online while she is sick.  When she starts making money, Lindy gets excited and wants to learn more about it.  Reading books like Buying Stock for Dummies*, she learns the ins and outs of the stock market.  When she is well enough to go to school, Lindy finds time to trade stock by going to the school library to check her portfolio.  She’s obsessed and can’t seem to stop.  When she’s on a roll, and wants to expand her trading, she “borrows” from her parents portfolio.  She loses a substantial amount of money, which she tries to gain  back.  Phew.  A few weeks later, her father receives a subpoena to appear before the Security and Exchange Commission for illegal short selling.  Lindy is in serious trouble. Continue reading

Sidekicked by John David Anderson

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As a member of Highview Envionmental Revitalization Organization (H.E.R.O. for short), Andrew has a secret to keep.  He has many secrets to keep. Andrew is a superhero sidekick in training.  Andrew is the Sensationalist; he has hypersensitive senses – he can smell and hear things from miles away.  As part of the HERO program, Andrew and his colleagues have HERO classes on Tuesdays.  Each member of HERO is teamed up with a superhero.  They’re sworn to uphold the sidekick code of honor: Sidekicks must use their power for good, must  never compromise their superhero’s secrets, must never endanger the public or take a life, and a sidekick must “accompany his super in all acts of heroism and protect his super.”

Andrew’s biggest problem is that his super has quit being a hero.  Titan is off the grid.  When the Deal and the Four Jacks break out of prison and start a crime spree, Andrew and his HERO friends find themselves right in the middle of the case. Continue reading

One + One = Blue

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It wasn’t until Basil was in 7th grade that he discovered that most people don’t see colors when they see numbers. Until he went to 7th grade, Basil was homeschooled by his grandmother. It isn’t easy being a new student, and Basil tries to hide until an even newer student named Tenzie shows up. Tenzie is the opposite of Basil: loud, extroverted, and brash. She reminded me of Peppermint Patty. Both Basil and Tenzie have parents who aren’t in their lives: Basil is raised by his grandmother and Tenzie’s parents are too busy working. Tenzie worms her way into Basil’s life and she spends more and more time with Basil and his grandmother. Somewhere along the way, Tenzie confides to Basil that she can see colors with her numbers – that they both have something called Synesthesia. Continue reading

Novelist For the Win! Or, how I got a kid to take three books home.

I love Novelist. I use it daily. Sometimes it isn’t enough that I know the books in my collection.  And a proper reader’s advisory interview doesn’t always do it either. At least not to every child.  That’s where Novelist comes in handy.  It’s not me recommending a book, it’s the know-all computer that is finding books.

I had a great success story yesterday and want to share it.  It’s spring break and the weather is more like Christmas break.  There are three people involved in this interview: me, Mom, and C.  C is a sixth grade boy who appears to be more interested in Wii games than books.  He sort of reminded me of Sheldon Cooper.  slender, dark hair, didn’t make eye contact.

Mom: C did you say thank you?  I didn’t hear thank you [when you asked to reserve that Wii game].

C: thank you very much.

Mom: Did you ask about a book?

C: I don’t need a book… (he heads to the console games)

Mom: I’m trying to get him back into reading.  He used to love it.  (She has two Terry Pratchett books in her hand trying to decide which book would work for him.)

Me: You know, I’d be happy to help find a book.

Mom: C, Sharon said she’d be happy to help you find a book.

C: that’s okay, I don’t need a book.

{he’s about  10 feet away at this point}

Me: Come on over, C, I can help you.

C: No, I really don’t need one.

Mom: She’ll help you.

C: I have a book.

Me: Oh, what are you reading?

C: Strange Case of Origami Yoda. In fact, I have one… (and he shows me his origami)

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My Poor Print Motivation

I lack print motivation (as defined by Every Child Ready to Read: a child’s interest and enjoyment of books). For the last thirty year (gulp) of my adulthood, I always a book or two going. Lately, not so much. As I wrote on a previous post, I’ve been preoccupied with learning to quilt. Every chance I get, I’m in my sewing room. Worse yet, I haven’t really missed it.

I see my young co-workers talking books; they’re reading everything under the sun. And I think to myself, I remember being like that. Then I think, “They’ll burn out too.” A little shaded on my part. I just think I need to have better balance between reading and quilting. Balance is something I don’t seem to handle well. Oftentimes, it’ all or nothing.

So tell me, how dp you balance reading with other parts of your life?

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

Keeping the Castle

If I may speak like a children’s librarian for a moment, I lack print motivation. (Print motivation is a child’s interest and enjoyment of books.) I’ve been in a reading funk and actually haven’t enjoyed a book in a very long time. I see the young librarians I work closely with suck up every book under the sun and I think, “I remember being that eager to read.” And, what is worse… I haven’t missed reading. Isn’t that terrible?

Do I blame cable TV? Do I blame the trends in literature that keep me away from this activity I’ve loved for more than my three decades of adulthood? Is it because my work life is full and by the time I get home I just want to crash with my hubba-hubba and doggies? Why can’t reading be part of that time too?

I think it might be fair to blame the new sewing machine… every chance I get I’ve been using it, trying to make pretty things. I truly think it’s good that I’ve finally found a creative outlet, but I also think it’s important to strike a balance. I’m starting to learn that …

There’s a time to quilt and there’s a time to read.

Now it’s up to me to find that balance: in part because it’s a job requirement and, really, because reading is a part of who I am. It has taken a special book to bring me back to the place where I want to read. Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl played a real part it that. I’m ready for my next book.

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Heroes in Training: Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

King Cronus and his cronies rule the Greek Isles. The gods are age 10 and don’t really know anything of their powers or history.  In fact, five of the gods have been magically hibernating in Cronus’ belly since they were babies.  Zeus is the only god not in Cronus—he’s been dodging thunderbolts on Crete.  When half giants invade Crete, Zeus is taken by boat then Harpies to Greece, where he retrieves a thunderbolt stuck in a rock. Prophecies state the person who can do this is King of the Gods.  Speaking of prophecies: he meets the Oracle of Delphi who tells him to follow where the cone-stone leads him.  The stone magically annouces to Zeus to find Poseidon and off he goes.  When Zeus (and his thunderbolt) meet up with Cronus, a battle ensues and the other godlings escape the belly of the Titan.  Only to discover more adventures (in book 2).

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