Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saturday at ALA AC17

Yesterday was a jam-packed day at ALA. I couldn't figure out why I did not fall right to sleep when I finally turned off the light at midnight. Turned it back on and read for an hour and still tossed and turned till nearly 2. I awoke at 5:30 and am wondering how I am going to get through today on so little sleep. My day starts at 7AM at the Coretta Scott King breakfast and ends late tonight with the Newbery Banquet. Oy.

But yesterday, I took the shuttle to the convention center and hit the exhibits. I had no real plan other than to wander around to see what there was to see. Waited on a few lines for author signatures. 

Met Adele Griffin and told her my story about my students who cannot wait for Oodlethunks 3. She confessed to getting teary hearing about how much they got into the Oodlethunks.

Took tons of pics of books I don't want to forget to order. Went to the Scholastic Picture Book Brunch and listened to Molly Bang, Peter Sis, Sean Qualls and Alan Say talk about the making of their latest picture books. 

I had to duck out early because I had forgotten that I bought a ticket to the Margaret Edwards Award brunch where Sarah Dessen spoke. I enjoy her books and have a gaggle of seventh and eighth grade girls who adore her. We each received a copy of her newest, Once and for All.

I wandered the exhibits and sent the first two boxes of books off.


I wandered around some more and took photos with authors real and standee.


I attended the Disney brunch, organized by the effervescent Dina Sherman, and listened to Rick Riordan speak about his new imprint at Disney and the first book set to be published by an Indian writer, featuring an Indian girl and Indian mythology. I purposely didn't take arcs from the Disney booth since I thought I'd get some at the preview. Unfortunately, nothing was left! I guess I didn't get there early enough. Bummer.

I've got plenty to read.

I ended the evening with two events with Simon & Schuster. A party celebrating Ian Falconer and his new Olivia book, Olivia the Spy, followed by a dessert party. There was a chocolate fountain and Dr. Rob Bittner, my Converse twin. A few weeks ago, he posted a pic of his Newbery outfit, which included bright yellow Cons. I am a bit of a Converse collector hoarder and I. Had. To. Have. Them. He has been very gracious.

Then I spied Jason Reynolds and had to tell him how his book Ghost created a reader.

This sight greeted me as I turned onto Michigan Ave. All-in-all a wonderfully full day. I thought I would crash but ended up staying up till after one. Even then, I couldn't fall asleep. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday night @ ALAAC

I booked an early morning flight hoping to get some sightseeing done before conference started. My plan was to drop my bag at the hotel, shuttle to the convention center, register, then walk along the lake up to the museum campus and visit one of them for the afternoon. Alas, what with the three-hour flight delay and my mess-ups, there was no time for that. I did shuttle down to register, then shuttled back up for a Simon & Schuster Night of Novels at the Osteria Via Stato. What a night it was! I got to meet Melanie Crowder first. I reviewed her book, Three Pennies for SLJ and absolutely adored it. I will be so glad to add the signed copy to our collection and mark it a partnership read*

Sandhya Menon talked about her debut, When Dimple Met Rishi. Another book I adored and have yet to review here. I want to though. I read it with my ears and the audio is fantastic.

Hena Khan spoke about Amina's Voice. Tim Green spoke about his collaboration with Derek Jeter on Baseball Genius. Susan Vaught spoke about writing a character in a wheelchair for her own son in Super Max and the Mystery of Thornwood's Revenge. I am blanking on the other authors! Oh boy. I'm having a brain fart and it's only the first day of conference. Catherynne Valente's The Glass Town Game - a novel about the Brontes. 

I left there with a tote loaded with books and popped into the Holiday House cocktail party where I got to ogle what's coming up for them. I got to catch up with my review editor at SLJ and a bunch of conference friends. 

Sadly, I took no photos. Sometimes, I need to be just in the moment; but did decide to take a short walk to look for the Bean and take some photos along The Magnificent Mile. Laughably, I mis-remembered where it was, not realizing that the Millennium Park Grille is located right below it. No worries, it was a gorgeous night and a lovely walk. 


It's a good thing that I hardly ate anything yesterday because it's all I will be doing today!

ALA Annual Conference 2017 - Chicago

Oy! The saga!

My last day of school was supposed to be June 19. It was still June 19 when registration for Annual opened. Then, the snow days happened. Four of them.

So. I missed the last day of school today, which made me a bit sad but I will get over it.

Way back when I registered, the airfare to Chicago was around $200. But. #2 son is doing a neurosurgical residency in Peoria and I thought I would try to visit him so I did not book my airfare. Turns out, he's on nights and basically works all night and sleeps all day. He's free the weekend when I'm not. Once we got that straightened out, the airfare out on Thursday afternoon evening was between 5 and 6 hundred dollars. 


So I booked an early morning flight. 7AM, which meant that I wanted to be there around 5, which meant that I'd be leaving my house around 4:15. Only my husband doesn't like to get up that early and is always late as a philosophical stance. He insisted on driving me and I insisted he be on time.

Only, I held us up. Got to the airport a little later than I wanted. The TSA pre-approved (Yay! Got it!) line was really long - but moving. The other line was short and not.

All was well. I was early. I was tired because of course I went to be late and slept poorly as I always do before big trips. I wasn't hungry. Suddenly, the boarding time changed on the board. A half hour later. Then an hour. We finally boarded only to discover that we could not leave the gate due to conditions in Chicago. 

Two hours later, we were in the air. Two hours of sitting in an airplane seat. Then I got hungry. Luckily for me I packed a bag of plantain chips because I didn't get snacks at the terminal because I wasn't hungry. When I'm not hungry, very little appeals to me and airport food is so darn expensive. When we finally got up in the air, the attendants gave out little packages of Bischoff biscuits, which happens to be one of my favorites. 

By the time we landed in Chicago, the sun was out and the tarmacs were dry leaving me to wonder what the heck was going on this morning! 

Rather than wait for a shuttle or splurge on a cab, I opted for CTA. My sister, Barb, showed me how easy it is to use a couple of conferences ago. I found out how close to a line my hotel is and took the train instead. I got turned around upon leaving the hotel and detoured the wrong way for a few blocks. Thank goodness for Google maps on my Smart Phone. I turned myself around and walked along the river. It was dry and sunny and breezy. Just lovely...

...until I got to the Hyatt and tried to register. Turns out, there are five Hyatts in Chicago and I was at the wrong one! Luckily, the one I am registered at was a ten minute walk north, so I hoofed it yet again. 

It's a weird set up (take an elevator up to the lobby, then down the hall to the room elevators) and the room is dark and stark but the bed is comfy and it's a shuttle stop; so it's all good.

I am here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

Another big week in the mailbox!

For review:
From Houghton Mifflin. Not sure how I got on a list for these arcs, but I'm thankful.

The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks.308 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 29, 2017. 9780544759275.

Publisher synopsis: Dan Brown meets Jason Bourne in this riveting middle-grade mystery thriller. When a young boy is discovered in Washington DC’s National Gallery without any recollection of who he is, so begins a high-stakes race to unravel the greatest mystery of all: his identity.

      As the stakes continue to rise, the boy must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins while using his limited knowledge to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted. Digitally interactive, this breathtaking museum mystery offers QR codes woven throughout the book that bring renowned paintings to readers’ fingertips.

Ten: a soccer story by Shamini Flint. 155 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June, 2017. 9780544850019.

Publisher synopsis: Maya is a passionate soccer fan eager to start playing soccer herself. This is extra challenging because soccer is considered a "boys' game" in Malaysia in 1986. She teaches herself basic soccer skills with only her mother and a potted rosebush as training partners, then gradually persuades enough girls to join her to form a team, all the while trying to keep her unpredictable biracial family together. Reading Maya's witty, observant first-person narrative will make readers want her on their team, and they'll cheer her on as she discovers that winning is great—but losing doesn't mean defeat.

Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens. 278 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June, 2017. 978544790865.

Publisher synopsis: Emily picks up a stone that looks like a cell phone but has unexpected magical powers. It's a Spellstone! Now that she has become an unwilling Stonemaster—one who wields the power of the Stone—she has to figure out Spellstone technology fast if she is to survive a hair-raising adventure among giant dogs, demons, clones, mean girls, and deeply wicked people who want the Stone. A witty tale of a quiet girl who discovers she's a hero when she needs to be. Stonemasters rule!

Confessions from the Principal's Kid by Robin Mellom 264 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 1, 2017. 9780544813793.

Publisher synopsis: During the school day, fifth-grader Allie West is an outsider. Everyone knows the principal's kid might tattle to her mom! But after school, Allie is an insider. She's friendly with the janitor, knows the shortest routes around the building, and hangs out with the Afters, a group of misfits whose parents are teachers at their school. Although Allie secretly loves her insider life, she's sick of being an outsider—so she vows to join the Pentagon, the popular math team led by her ex–best friend. But can Allie change her status without betraying where she really belongs?

From Time Inc./Liberty:

Animal Planet: Snakes! Amazing animal facts. By James Buckley Jr. Animal Planet Chapter Book Series #3. 112 p. Liberty Street, June, 2017. 9781683300045.

Publisher synopsis: Animal Planet introduces information-packed nonfiction chapter books that are just right for pleasure reading and schoolwork.

Slither along to an amazing adventure in Snakes!. Meet the biggest, the fastest, and the most venomous snakes—from massive anacondas and pythons to fierce and fanged vipers and cobras. Learn about snakes that climb trees and others that swim in ocean waters. Snakes! is the perfect overview for developing readers ready to explore this popular animal subject on their own. Special features include full-color photography throughout, "Meet the Scientist" sidebars, and "In Your Newsfeed" articles about amazing new discoveries.

Don't miss the other books in the Animal Planet Chapter Books series: Bugs!, Dinosaurs!, and Sharks!.

Animal Planet: Bugs! Amazing animal facts by James Buckley Jr. 112 p. Animal Planet Chapter Book Series #4. Liberty Street, June, 2017. 978168330005.

Publisher synopsis: Animal Planet introduces information-packed nonfiction chapter books that are just right for pleasure reading and schoolwork.

Fly away on a fascinating journey to the world of Bugs!. Meet the fastest flyers and the long-distance travelers—from huge moths and colorful butterflies to busy bees and annoying fleas. Learn about massive locust swarms and hungry caterpillars. Bugs! is the perfect overview for developing readers ready to explore this popular animal subject on their own. Special features include full-color photography throughout, "Meet the Scientist" sidebars, and "In Your Newsfeed" articles about amazing new discoveries.

From Blue Slip Media:

Listen: how Pete Seeger got America singing by Leda Schubert. Illustrated by Raúl Colón. unpgd. A Neal Porter Book/ Roaring Brook Press, June, 2017. 9781626722507.

Publisher synopsis: Listen.
There was nobody like Pete Seeger.
Wherever he went, he got people singing. 
With his head thrown back and his Adam’s apple bouncing,
picking his long-necked banjo or strumming his twelve-string guitar,
Pete sang old songs,
new songs,
new words to old songs,
and songs he made up.

In this gorgeously written and illustrated tribute to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger, author Leda Schubert highlights major musical events in Mr. Seeger's life as well important moments of his fight against social injustice. From singing sold-out concerts to courageously standing against the McCarthy-era finger-pointing, Pete Seeger's life is celebrated in this bold book for young readers with gorgeous illustrations by Raúl Colón.


You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie. Unabridged audiobook on 10 CDs. 12 hours. Read by the author. Hachette Audio, June, 2107. 9781478912811.

Publisher synopsis: A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, and loss from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award winner.

When his mother passed away at the age of 78, Sherman Alexie responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is this stunning memoir. Featuring 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs, Alexie shares raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine--growing up dirt-poor on an Indian reservation, one of four children raised by alcoholic parents. Throughout, a portrait emerges of his mother as a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated woman. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME is a powerful account of a complicated relationship, an unflinching and unforgettable remembrance.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Memes: The Dog Ray by Linda Coggin

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

The Dog Ray by Linda Coggin. 193 p. Candlewick Press, November, 2016. 9780763679385.

Publisher synopsis: By turns humorous, poignant, and moving, this tale of a girl who comes back to Earth as a dog is a nuanced portrait of death, love, grief, and hope.
When my death came it was swift. Swift as a running horse. It wasted no time.
Daisy, age twelve, has died in a car accident. She finds herself in the afterworld, which resembles nothing more than a job center. Her soul is being returned to Earth, but not as a human being—she’s returning as a dog. A dog who retains Daisy’s thoughts and pluck and is determined to get back to her parents and to get back home. What she doesn’t expect is that life as a dog named Ray would come with such worries—and moments of jubilation—as she grows to care for others in a whole new way. Told in a compelling first-person voice, Linda Coggin’s incredible novel touches on loyalty and freedom, connection and acceptance, and is sure to stay with readers long after the story is done.

First Line(s): When my death came it was swift. Swift as a running horse. It wasted no time.

Page 56: She's not a boy. She's a girl," the old man says. "I remember her from when I was sleeping in some park or other. Shad some sort of name that made me think of the weather. But I can't for the life of me remember what it was."
     Oh, please don't remember, I think. I really don't want to be stuck with Misty for the rest of my life.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

Oh! The riches continue! Good thing summer break is coming up! I am so-o behind!

For review:

Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari. 278 p. Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers, August 22, 2017. 9780062438928.

Publisher synopsis: A poignant, charming middle grade novel, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree. A beautifully layered story about navigating the often shifting bonds of family and friendship, and learning how to put the pieces back together when things fall apart.

Emily Murphy is about to enter middle school. She's sort of excited…though not nearly as much as her best friend Hazel, who is ready for everything to be new. Emily wishes she and Hazel could just continue on as they always have, being the biggest fans ever of the Unicorn Chronicles, making up dance moves, and getting their regular order at The Slice.

But things are changing. At home, Emily and her mom are learning to move on after her parents' divorce. Hardest of all, her beloved sister Mina has been in a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia. Emily is eager to have her back, but anxious about her sister getting sick again.

Hazel is changing too. She has new friends from the field hockey team, is starting to wear makeup, and have crushes on boys. Emily is trying to keep up, but she keeps doing and saying the wrong thing. She wants to be the perfect new Emily. But who is that really?

Saving Marty by Paul Griffin. 208 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, September 19, 2017. 97803995339077.

Publisher synopsis: Fans of Because of Winn Dixie will adore this warm and heart-wrenching story of the friendship between a boy and a pig who thinks it's a dog.

Renzo is a quiet kid, content to let his charismatic friend Paloma do all the talking while he dreams of playing the guitar and surfing out in California, becoming a veterinarian, and maybe learning more about the war hero  father he's never known. He lives on a farm with his mom, grandfather, and an extraordinary pig named Marty...a pig who thinks he's a dog, that is. Renzo and Marty’s friendship is one-of-a-kind, but the bigger Marty gets, the harder it is for Renzo to justify his unusual pet to his penny-pinching mom. So when she threatens to sell Marty—or worse—Renzo decides it’s up to him and Paloma to save Marty once and for all.

I adored the author's When Friendship Followed Me Home. I also got a signed copy at Day of Dialog so I will send this one to my friend, e.e. Charlton-Trujillo's not-for-profit, Never Counted Out.

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi. 369 p. Dutton Children's Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group, November 14, 2017. 9781101994795.

Publisher synopsis: Embark on a wondrous journey through the land of Whichwood in this stunning companion to Tahereh Mafi’s acclaimed bestseller Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night . . . 

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way) and she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days scrubbing the skins and souls of the dead in preparation for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore not only her ever-increasing loneliness, but the way her overworked hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair. 

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appear, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship. 

Lush and enchanting, critically-acclaimed author Tahereh Mafi weaves together an all-new magical adventure in this dark, Persian fantasy, a companion to the New York Times bestselling Furthermore.

There's Someone inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Dutton Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group, September 26, 2017. 9780525426011.

Publisher synopsis: Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

I usually avoid horror like the plague having been scarred for life by Stephen King and Dial M for Murder as a teen. I enjoyed Perkins' Anna books and am curious about this "fresh take."

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Arc Review: A Different Pond by Bao Phi

A Different Pond by Bao Phi. Illustrated by Thi Bui. 32 p. Fiction Picture Book Series. Capstone Press, August 1, 2017. 9781479597468. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher.)

A young Vietnamese boy tells the story of being awakened in the early morning hours by his father. A bare bulb illuminates a spare kitchen where the wall calendar says the year is 1982. Together, they head out into the darkness to fish. As the boy contemplates the quiet, early morning streets he listens to the stories his father tells and remembers, "A kid at my school said my dad's English sounds like a thick, dirty river. But to me his English sounds like gentle rain."

After a stop at a bait shop, the boy and his father arrive at their fishing spot. They have to climb over a divider and pass a posted, "No Trespassing" sign to get to the river. They are occasionally joined by others, but this morning, they are alone. The boy is proud to be given the responsibility of making a small fire - especially when it lights with one match. He declines baiting the hook with a minnow and knows that's okay with his dad. While they wait for the fish to bite, they eat the sandwiches that his father prepared before awakening him. His father tells him of a different pond, one in Vietnam that he used to fish at with his brother, his brother who never came home from the war that the boy's father fought in.

When they catch enough fish to eat that night, the two wash up and return home. They drive through the breaking dawn and present their catch to mother, who is nearly ready for work. With both of his parents off to work, the boy is left home with his older siblings. He bristles at being called baby brother because he helped catch dinner. 

There is so much to love here. While it is a picture book, the illustrations do have a graphic novel art feel. The palette of dark blues and greens creates a lush night-time atmosphere and contrast nicely with the warm hues of the boy's home. The family is working class and their neighborhood is an urban one. There is a view of the city from their fishing spot. There might be homeless people seen through the early morning light. The mom rides a bike to work. There are many little details to notice in the gorgeous illustrations. This book will provide both a window and a mirror. 

The book began as a poem and reads aloud beautifully. The imagery is lovely and the book's themes are universal from the boy's coming-of-age through the father-son experience to the story of immigrant struggle. I loved the ritual associated with these fishing trips, the camaraderie the boy felt when he and his dad were joined by the "regulars" and how he loved it when they were alone too. The recognition of his and his dad's "otherness" reflected in the comment about his dad's accent was so poignant. The warmth, love and support shown by all the members of this large family is palpable. Finally, the affirmation of the importance of story within a family is important.

Both the author and the illustrator were born in Vietnam. In the Author's Note, Bao shares a picture of himself as a baby with his father, who was the inspiration for the book. He speaks beautifully about wanting to honor his parents' struggle. 

I was all set to make this a Non-Fiction Monday feature until I looked up the publisher particulars and saw the it is part of a series called Fiction Picture Books. I still think it could be used in a memoir unit as a prompt. It not only belongs in every ESL/ ELL classroom, but in any classroom, as it is a remarkable read aloud with enormous discussion potential. It is truly a first purchase for any school or public library and an outstanding example of why we need diverse books everywhere. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

Oh! The riches! A Random/Penguin preview box arrived! I went to SLJ Day of Dialog and carried 40 lbs of arcs and finished books home and some books I purchased arrived. Oh! And bookmarks gifted by Rita Williams-Garcia came too!

If you have not yet read Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, please do. I had the honor of reading and reviewing it for SLJ and it is wonderful.

Penguin Box:

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson. 248 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Young Readers Group, September 5, 2017. 9780525429999.

Publisher synopsis: Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she's eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she'll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she'll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it's not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don't) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family's unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all. 

As she did in Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson perfectly—and authentically—captures the bittersweetness of middle school life with humor, warmth, and understanding.

I absolutely adored Ms. Jamieson's graphic novel debut, Roller Girl and it is so popular at my school, I have three copies!

War Cross by Marie Lu. 353 p.G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Young Readers Group, September 12, 2017. 9780399547966.

Publisher synopsis: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. 451 p. Kathy Dawson Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group, September 19, 2017. 9780525493358.

Publisher synopsis: Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

SLJ Day of Dialog:
Philip and Erin Stead have a new book coming out in September. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargerine. Created from notes discovered recently of a story that Mark Twain told his daughters but never published. Philip Stead "collaborated" with Twain to finish the story and Erin Stead illustrated.  We received a sampler and this gorgeous print. The picture on the left is the cover of the folder protecting the print (photo right). I am thinking of framing both as the cover is lovely as well.


Motor Girls: how women took the wheel and drove boldly into the 20th century by Sue Macy. 96 p. National Geographic Society, February, 2017. 9781426326974.

Publisher synopsis: Come along for a joy ride in this enthralling tribute to the daring women – Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century – who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in this book we meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, readers will be delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them.

I am a fan of Macy's work. The topics she chooses are consistently interesting and her books are always filled with great photos.

A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy's big speech by Shana Corey. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 56 p. North South Books, April, 2017. 9780735842755.

Publisher synopsis: From prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson to children and teenagers, it was the people speaking out and working for civil rights through sits-ins, freedom rides, and marches who led John F. Kennedy to take a stand.

And with his June 11, 1963, civil rights address, he did.

This is the story of JFK—from his childhood to the events that led to his game-changing speech and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Corey and Christie offer a deeply human look at our country’s thirty-fifth president, underscoring how each one of us, no matter who we are, have the power to make a difference.

With quotes from JFK’s speeches, detailed back matter, and a thought-provoking author’s note, this biography—in time for what would be JFK's 100th birthday—offers a sensitive look at a tumultuous time in history and compelling questions about effecting positive change today.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling. 266 p. Sterling Children's Books, September 9, 2017. 9781454923459.

Publisher synopsis: “Whoa! What happened to your arms?” Aven Green gets that question a lot. She loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again. Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who has his own disability to conquer, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.

Purchased: I put the first two books in my shopping cart thanks to Deborah Ford's JLG Summer Reading Webinar.

Stranger Things Have Happened by Jeff Strand. 289 p. Sourcebooks Fire, April, 2017. 9781492645399.

Publisher synopsis: Okay, so Marcus isn't a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.

The problem? Marcus also has stage fright-in spades. It's one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend, Kimberly, but it's an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.

Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.

To uphold his great-grandfather's honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he's the next best thing...

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. 291 p. Philomel Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group, May, 2017. 9780399547010.

Publisher synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So, when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world—in Svalbard, Norway—Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

But will following Drake be the key to unlocking Flora’s memory? Or will the journey reveal that nothing is quite as it seems? 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. Unabridged audiobook on 2 MP3 cds. Read by Sneha Methan and Vickas Adams. Dreamscape Media, May, 2017. 9781520075709.

Publisher synopsis: Now that Dimple Shah has graduated, she's ready for a break from her family - especially from Mamma's inexplicable obsession with her finding the Ideal Indian Husband. Ugh. But Dimple knows that her mother must respect that she isn't interested in doing that right now - otherwise she wouldn't have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers, right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic, so when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him - during which he'll have to woo her - he's totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. Although their parents hadn't planned suggesting the arrangement so soon, when their kids signed up for the same summer program, they figured Why not?

I grabbed an arc of this at Midwinter and had started reading it a few weeks ago. I really loved the voice, but when I heard it was produced as an audio, I decided to wait until it released to finish the story.

That's what's new with me. What's New with you?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Taking Stock - May

Oops! Here it is, June 2, and I'm only just realizing that May is over! Three more weeks of school left! Wow, did this year fly by! I was in NYC attending SLJ's Day of Dialog from early in the morning till evening and then was lucky to join some publishers for a preview dinner. I returned home via public transportation, laden with books at 10PM! Then spent the next day at school so when I got home yesterday afternoon, I was in a total fog!

Total posts this month:15
Total books read this month: 26
Total books read this year: 171

Audio: 7/34
Debut:  1/6
Picture Book: 13/79

The Good: Started the month with a bang but ended with a whimper.

The Bad: see above. Good thing I was nearly 30 books ahead on my GR challenge! Down to 22 books ahead. Still ahead but losing ground. Gotta doubledown.

The Books: * = favorite
146. Malala: activist for girls' education by (5/1)*
147. The Search for Olinguito: discovering a new species by Sandra Markle (5/2)*
148. Pirate's Perfect Pet by Beth Ferry (5/3)*
149. The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Jane Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel (5/3)*
150. Hey, Boy by Benjamin Strouse (5/4)
151. Blip by Barnaby Richards (5/4)
152. Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket (5/4)
153. The Bear Who Wasn't There by LeUyen Pham (5/4)*
154. We're All Wonders by R. J. Palacio (5/5)
155. The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond (5/5)
156. Shine by Patrick McDonnell (5/5)
157. How to Build a Museum by Tonya Bolden (5/5)*
158. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (5/6)
159. Pride: celebrating diversity and community by Robin Stevenson (5/9)
160. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (5/9)
161. The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf (5/14)
162. Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff (5/16) 
163. Moto and Me: my year as a wildcat's foster mom by Suzi Eszterhas (5/17)*
164. The Hawk of the Castle: a story of Medieval falconry by Danna Smith (5/17)*
165. Like a Bird: the art of the American slave song by Cynthia Grady (5/18)
166. Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle (5/21)*
167. How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown (5/26)*
168. Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend (5/27)
169. The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz (5/28)
170. A Different Pond by Bao Phi (5/29)

171. Wrath of the Storm by Jennifer A. Nielsen (5/29)