Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Getting Graphic

It's TTT and the theme for this week over at Broke and Bookish is getting graphic or a focus on visual arts, like picture books.

Here are ten picture books that I have favorited in the last little while:

Wolf in the Snow by Matt Cordell. I have not gotten around to reviewing this one. It's received five or six starred reviews so I don't really need to. It's beautiful.

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins for read aloud fun.

Preaching to the Chickens: the story of a young John Lewis by Jabari Asim. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis.

Lift Your Light a Little Higher: the story of Stephen Bishop, slave explorer by Heather Henson. Illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

Tiny Stitches: the life of medical pioneer, Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks. Illustrated by Colin Bootman.

Return by Aaron Becker. This third book completes the trilogy begun in Journey. I adore wordless books and these three are luminous.

The Water Princess by Susan Verde. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. I adore Reynolds' art and this story is just amazing.

Ada's Violin: the story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood. Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Happy Book Birthday! Non-fiction Monday: Sea Otter Heroes: the predators that saved an ecosystem by Patricia Newman

Sea Otter Heroes: the predators that saved an ecosystem by Patricia Newman. 56 p. Millbrook Press/ Lerner Publishing Group, January 28, 2017. 9781512426311. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

I will put this right out there - Sea Otter Heroes is a first purchase! The adorable sea otter who appears to be looking directly at the camera will lure your patrons/ students and the author's storytelling skills will keep them interested. Newman delivers another cogent, superb and influential book. The work of scientists is not a rusty, dusty litany of facts, figures and tedious lab experiments. Thanks to writers like Newman, Sy Montgomery, Pamela S. Turner, and more, young people can get up close and personal with real scientists and learn about a variety of careers in science. 

Sea Otter Heroes tells the story of a science mystery and the scientist who worked to solve it. Elkhorn Slough (pronounced slew), is an inlet that sits between Monterey and Santa Cruz in California. Farms surround the estuary and dump tons of pesticides and fertilizer into the waters. This practice has nearly decimated the growth of sea grass, an important plant in the marine ecosystem. The run-off is known as nutrient pollution and allows algae to thrive. This overpopulation of algae prevents photosynthesis and causes the death of sea grass. This, in turn decimates the population of sea animals that rely on sea grass for food and shelter. It also impacts humans in the form of coastal erosion. For some reason, the sea grass population in Elkhorn Slough has recovered and marine biologist Brent Hughes set about studying why this happened. Just how do otters fit into this remarkable recovery? Read Sea Otter Heroes to find out.

Thanks to the publisher/ art department for the beautiful design of this volume. There's plenty of "white" space. It's actually pleasing shades of blues with watery borders. There is at least one full-color photograph, map, or diagram on each page. Pages are also broken up by inserts like "Otterisms: Built to Hunt," which convey easily digestible facts about the otter or "Seagrass Science: What is a Trophic Cascade?"

A double-page spread entitled, "Rethink Your Relationship with Wildlife" offers suggestions for young readers that are easy to start the minute they close the book. Pages containing source notes and a glossary are followed with a two-page selected bibliography. A page with books and websites that young readers might explore and an index round out this important book.

I have mentioned that this is a first-purchase book already. Now, more than ever, we need to nurture young readers' fascination with animals and nature. There is so much at stake. We need to educate and inspire our students to be curious critical thinkers and champions of the environment and more. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Picture Book Review: King Baby by Kate Beaton

King Baby by Kate Beaton. Unpgd. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., September, 2016. 9780545637541. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

The back cover of this delightful book declares, "It is good to be the king!" Indeed, who gets more attention and adoration than a brand new baby? Who can be more demanding and tyrannical than a brand new baby?

Make room on the shelf with "New Sibling" books for this amusing gem. A bright palette depicts a potato-shaped newborn first bathed in a spotlight and sporting a crown. The next double-page spread depicts a diverse receiving line of adoring friends and family and the proud parents. Baby smiles and coos give way to demands such as, "Feed me!" and "Change me!" as the proud parents quickly devolve into an exhausted puddle.

As King Baby bumps up against his immobility and inability to communicate, he decides to do it himself. The page turn reveals an adorable sequence depicting King Baby crawling. But this is a mere stepping stone! There's talking and walking to conquer on his way to becoming a Big Boy! Ah, but there is a surprise in store for King Baby.

A bright palette, humorous cartoon expressions make this universal story of the highs and lows of a new family a keeper. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Picture Book(s) Review: Three Titles by Ryan T. Higgins

I recall reading rave reviews of Mother Bruce a year or so back but, being in a middle school, I don't always get to all the picture books I'd like. Then, I had the good fortune of hearing the author/ illustrator read Hotel Bruce at a rip-roaring Disney preview at Annual in Orlando. What a hoot!

Earlier this week, I attended the Disney preview at Midwinter in Atlanta. As soon as I spied the name Ryan T. Higgins, I grabbed an fng of Be Quiet!! It was read to us by the editorial staff and the room was highly amused. I could not wait to return and share Be Quiet! with my "period Kahn" students.

Because the main characters in this were from Hotel Bruce and because Bruce makes a cameo appearance in this one, I decided to read all three books to them to test the group's stamina and observe what my students noticed. Luckily, the amazing public library across the street from the school owned both Mother Bruce and Hotel Bruce. The story time was a huge success. I don't believe I have ever heard them laugh so hard or be so attentive. And, yes, connections were made!

So here's a sort of review of all three:

Mother Goose Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. unpgd. Disney/ Hyperion, 2015. 9781484730881. (Review from copy borrowed from public library)

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. Disney/ Hyperion, 2016. 9781484743621. (Review from copy borrowed from public library)

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins. Disney/ Hyperion, April 4, 2017. 9781484731628. (Review from fng courtesy of publisher)

We always start by examining the end pages if they are decorated. We always start by finding the copyright date because one student (a natural librarian) is intensely interested in copyright dates and NEEDS to know it before anything else. Then, we proceed to check out the front flap and whether there are decorated end pages. We often flip to the back flap, especially if the author and/or illustrator are new to us.

Often, a picture book story begins on the end-pages, but in Mother Goose Bruce, it actually begins on the front flap. 

Do you see the tiny little nest containing four eggs on the bottom left corner? Here:

Bruce is a bear so grumpy he could give Grumpy Cat a run for his money. He also likes eggs. Any eggs but he doesn't eat them raw. He is a connoisseur and has mastered various ways of cooking them. When he's interrupted while preparing four goose eggs, he returns to find them hatched. Since goslings imprint on the first thing they see, Bruce becomes, "Mama!"

Hilarity ensues.

In Hotel Bruce, the end-pages show Bruce's den in the fall, followed by a picture of snow covering the den. 

Spoiler alert for Mother Bruce - Bruce is heading south with his four wards for the winter because that's what geese do. After several amusing spreads of frolicking on the beach with gators, the family boards a bus and returns to the den the following spring. They discover that three mice have moved in and opened a hotel.

Bruce was not happy.

He sets about ridding his den of the intruders but things only get worse.

More hilarity ensues.

In Be Quiet!, the three squatting mice get a story. In fact, Rupert is planning a wordless story! Wordless, because wordless books are artistic. Then comes the title page with a goose piloting a plane dragging a banner reading, Rupert the Mouse Presents Be Quiet! So, he announces that it will be quiet starting now. Only he joined by Nibs, who wants to know what Rupert is doing. When he learns that Rupert is planning a wordless story, he wants to help but can't help talking. Rupert finally loses it, which attracts Thistle's attention. Thistle's exuberant commentary drives Rupert over the edge.

Be prepared for more hilarity.

The cast of characters include the aforementioned cameo by Bruce, his geese and a few other characters from the earlier books. It's also a bit of meditation on authorship and collaboration as Nibs' imagination runs amok.

I'm not sure what media was used to create the art but there is plenty of color, texture and visual humor to please the eye and tickle the funny bone. Fans of the previous books will be delighted to return to Bruce's neighborhood. If you are not already familiar with the Bruce books, remedy that asap and pre-order Be Quiet! Your story time patrons will love you for it, especially if you pull out all the stops during the read aloud. The students' aides who were in the room while I performed Be Quiet! asked what I was going to do to top my reading of it! I am not sure. It was quite fun to read aloud. I wouldn't mind doing it again. This is  crowd-pleaser and one that will elicit, "Read it again!" repeatedly.

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.

For review:

A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman. 357 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Young Reader's Group, January, 2017. 9780399545191.

Publisher synopsis: No one comes to the Second World on purpose. The doorway between worlds opens only when least expected. The Raft King is desperate to change that by finding the doorway that will finally take him and the people of Raftworld back home. To do it, he needs Pip, a young boy with an incredible gift—he can speak to fish; and the Raft King is not above kidnapping to get what he wants. Pip’s sister Kinchen, though, is determined to rescue her brother and foil the Raft King’s plans.
This is but the first of three extraordinary stories that collide on the high seas of the Second World. The second story takes us back to the beginning: Venus and Swimmer are twins captured aboard a slave ship bound for Jamaica in 1781. They save themselves and others from a life of enslavement with a risky, magical plan—one that leads them from the shark-infested waters of the first world to the second. Pip and Kinchen will hear all about them before their own story is said and done. So will Thanh and his sister Sang, who we meet in 1978 on a small boat as they try to escape post-war Vietnam. But after a storm and a pirate attack, they’re not sure they’ll ever see shore again. What brings these three sets of siblings together on an adventure of a lifetime is a little magic, helpful sea monsters and that very special portal, A Crack in the Sea.

Purchased: Yay! my pre-order came!

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla. 326 p. Harper/ HarperCollins Publisher, January 24, 2017. 9780062445766.

Publisher synopsis: The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.
Charlie’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.
When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.
Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn’t understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

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

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Memes: Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger

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

Well, there's not much about this online, I supposed because it's not due out until October. But when I saw piles of the arcs at the Charlesbridge booth at ALAMW, and saw that it was a new book by Ellen Wittlinger, I had to have it. I took a photo of the arc and emailed it to myself but that didn't work. It didn't work yesterday either. So I ended up temporarily posting the picture on FB and copying it to my desktop. Sigh. Technology.

Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger. 262 p. Charlesbridge, October 10, 2017. 9781580897754.

Publisher synopsis: From the back cover: Twelve-year-old movie-loving Maisie is dealing with the realities of a grandparent with dementia, a mom who's been laid off from her job, finding out that Gary Hackett like likes her, and a best friend who just confessed that, actually, he likes Gary. Like likes.

Maisie's uncle Walt, a Hollywood actor, provides a welcome diversion from Maisie's problems when he comes to stay with her family after being injured on a movie set. Uncle Walt has a way of pointing Maisie in the right direction. And heading to the local independent theater on Saturdays with her best friend, Cyrus, to see old films keeps Maisie grounded as she struggles with growing up, family tensions, and a love triangle she never expected.

First line: "Hey, you kids!" Mr. Schmitz yells up at us. "Yeah, I'm lookin' at you. The movie's over. Go home!"

Page 56: "Okay!" Hackett seems ridiculously happy, like I just gave him a puppy. "Maybe they'll come to the Lincoln, and we can see them together!"
     Ugh, I didn't mean that. But against my will, my mouth seems to be curving up at one corner. He looks so pleased, it's hard not to be happy along with him. I wish he was wearing long pants.

I grabbed this galley at the booth on Friday night and brought it with me to eat dinner by myself at a restaurant. I was totally captivated by Maisie's voice and wanted to curl up and read it all night. I had decided it would be my plane ride book but inadvertently packed it with the rest of my arcs and shipped it! I'm hoping to get to it this weekend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ALAMW17 - Day 3 - Disney Preview

The Disney previews are always fun. Dina Sherman, a former school librarian, loves story-time and story-time is what attendees get. Sometimes, usually at Annual, it is the actual authors who read, but the editorial staff step up at midwinter and entertain. 

I am particularly excited for Elizabeth Wein's newest, The Pearl Thief, due out in May. Code Name Verity remains strong on my list of all-time favorite reads. It is a book I have reread at least twice and would do so again were I not so backlogged with reading. This is a prequel of sorts to Code Name Verity. We revisit Verity as fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart, who has just landed in the hospital after an accident that might not have been an accident.

Gum Girl returns in June with book two: Gum Luck. Keeping her superpowers secret is hard work! Plus, she may have a cavity! Oh no!

On April 4, Bruce makes a cameo appearance in Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins. This go round, it's time for the three squatting mice from Hotel Bruce to star. Rupert is planning a sophisticated wordless book only his two sidekicks can't keep quiet. Hilarity ensues.

No Cover Image Available

7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar is due on May 16. Get your best "Just the facts, ma'am," voice on for this numerical whodunit and just try to keep a straight face!

Waiting on Wednesday: Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley. 304 p. Dial Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group, August 29, 2017. 9780525428442. 

Publisher synopsis: When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him.

But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night’s fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both . . . and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones.

Now, Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery are determined to fix their ancestors’ mistakes and banish the bad luck that’s followed them around for all of their lives. They’re going to face Munch the gator themselves, and they’re going to reclaim their destinies.
But what if the legend of Munch is nothing but a legend, after all?

When I first read the synopsis, I thought of another book I enjoyed, A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. Then, went on to read that Tumble & Blue would appeal to fans of...? You guessed it, A Snicker of Magic. <Pats self on back.>

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Freebie

The TTT theme over at Broke and Bookish is a freebie. Since I just returned from ALA Midwinter and the Youth Media Awards announcements, I will highlight ten of the many promising arcs I shipped back from the conference. Because this post is so last-minute, I will not be posting summaries. Sorry. I have to catch up at work and can't access Broke and Bookish at work.

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes. Due January 31.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Due out March 7.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. When I saw the stacks at the booth, I thought the publisher must be selling them for an author signing but they were free! Her many fans at my school will be rabid for this.

Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn. Due May 2.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Meets the Word by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. Due February 7.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein. Due on May 7.

Restart by Gordon Korman. Due on May 30.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donahue. Due on March 28.

Starcrossed by Barbara Dee. Due on March 14.

No Cover Online

Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger. Due out October 10.

Monday, January 23, 2017

ALAMW17 - Day 3 - Notable Books Discussion

I always love sitting in on Notable Books discussions. They show slides featuring the covers of the books under discussion and speak into mics so that their thoughtful appraisal of each book can be heard. Unlike the BFYA list, I have read or own most of the non-picture book titles in my library. We own a fair number of the picture book titles because #nevertoooldforpicturebooks. 

These books are supposed to be featuring 60 of the "best of the best," so the committee can sometimes sound a bit nit-picky. In some ways, I like the work of this committee over single award committees because more than one brilliant work can be spotlit. Spotlighted? 

This committee works past the announcements of the YMA since they incorporate the winners into their list. If it's already a title under consideration, great. If not, room is made for surprises.

I regret not having the time to trot up the hill and down the hill to the Hilton to sit in on Notable Recordings. 

Non-Fiction Monday: Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinkska and Daniel Mizielinski

Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinkska and Daniel Mizielinski. 112 p. Candlewick Press, October, 2016. 9780763689223. (Review from copy borrowed from library.)

Unlike in an earlier review where I had forgotten how I found out about a book, I do remember where I learned of this gem - it was chosen as an NSTA outstanding book. Yeah. I totally missed the starred review in SLJ. Sigh. Yeah, I must up my game. I used to be so good at this!

Okay, so this oversized volume will be very difficult to shelve. The good news is that you might not have to, much. It is sure to be a favorite. Just leave it out for students to discover and pore over.

When I shared this with my students in "Period Kahn," I made a big show of asking them where the front of the book was and how I should open it. They were intrigued and talked about how most books stand vertically but this one's words were horizontal but on both sides. Hm. I have one student (bound to be a librarian) who is obsessed with copyright dates. He spied the ISBN code on the Under Water side and decided we should start on the Under Earth side. And that makes sense.

The authors take the reader on a layer-by-layer tour of the depths of the earth and water and it is fascinating! This is not a read aloud. This is not a book you will get through in one sitting. It is a book you will pore over and return to again and again. It is a book I thought about as I took this rather long escalator, nearly vertical, ride up from the MARTA stop in Atlanta on Friday. There is an impressive spread of subway depths around the world.

Impressive is the operating word here. Text boxes are arrayed across the horizontal double-page spreads and they all stun. Prepare to spend some time on each spread. Indeed, earth science teachers could use them to introduce units. There is a ton of information both textually and visually on each. 

The out-side-the-box Table of Contents will even shake things up. I'm not sure of its use for extensive research, say for a report about a particular area of earth science, but this book is sure to get kids excited about earth science and perhaps spark an idea for that research project.

Click on this link to a trailer for a nice overview of the layout and you'll see that you need to buy this for your kids.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Arc Review: The Wizard's Dog by Eric Kahn Gale

The Wizard's Dog by Eric Kahn Gale. 277 p. Crown Books for Young Readers/ Random House Children's Books, January, 2017. 9780553537369. (Review from arc courtesy of publicist.)

I love King Arthur stories. I fell in love with T. H. White's The Once and Future King as a teenager and reread it every so often. I hope to tackle Mallory someday, but for now I enjoy retelling's by contemporary authors. I especially enjoy retellings if there's a twist or something that makes it fresh.* So when I received an email asking me if I would be interested in The Wizard's Dog, I did not respond. 

Wait. What? The email came just before the holidays and got lost in the hustle and bustle of things. Thank goodness for a follow-up email after the New Year for this is a story you will want to share with the young people in your life. 

This is the story of Merlin as told by his dog, Nosewise. Merlin, Nosewise and Morgana live deep in the woods, protected by a wall of magical trees. Both Morgana and Nosewise were rescued by Merlin and Nosewise believes they are all packmates. Nosewise has learned quite a few tricks, like Sit! and Stay! and Speak! He is a bit dismayed to find out that Morgana is learning magic and is something called an apprentice. He wants to learn magic if only to defeat the pesky door that keeps him from things like Merlin's study and the great outdoors.

Morgana takes an interest in teaching Nosewise magic and the two steal away for quiet time to pursue finding Certainty and his Mind's Eye. They discover that he can do more than Speak! when he wears Morgana's Asteria, her magical stone, and both are delighted. Nosewise love speaking human and is eager to learn more magic.

When Merlin is kidnapped and Morgana disappears, it is up to Nosewise to scent the trail and rescue them. What an adventure awaits! 

This fast-paced, humorous yarn will hook tween readers from page one and have them furiously turning pages to the satisfying ending. I happened to start the book while waiting for my flight to Atlanta for ALAMW17 and got about 2/3 the way through by the time I landed. I reluctantly stowed it while making my train, checking in, etc. I could not wait to finish! And I cannot wait to buy a finished copy for my school's collection. 

Illustrations in the arc were not complete but promise to add to the excitement of the story. Oberon is positively scary and his way of speaking in rhyme was totally mesmerizing. I must admit though, Nosewise looks a bit crazed on the cover to me though not in the interior art. 

There's a nifty little trailer online. 

The freeing of the sword in the stone is just the beginning of the King Arthur lore, does this mean there are more Wizard's Dog books in store?

*Philip Reeve wrote one of my favorite retellings, Here Lies Arthur (Scholastic, 2008).

ALAMW17 - Day 3 - BFYA

Woke up rather early on this cloudy, dreary day in Atlanta.

My view from my hotel room Saturday afternoon: 

My view this morning:

I had only two appointments on tap. So I decided to head over to the convention center and drop in on the Best Fiction for Young Adults session.

I'm an arrive-around-ten-minutes-early kind of gal so when I showed up at the room where the BFYA committee was supposed to meet at 8:15 for what was in my scheduler and on the poster an 8:30 start, I was a bit dismayed. Luckily, I brought my laptop so I sat and worked on a blog post. Committee members started drifting in and I was informed that they decided to push the start time back. I replied that it would've been nice to have posted a note on the session poster. Oh well.

Once they started the discussion (ten minutes late), I noticed how inhospitable the entire set-up is. Used to be, I dropped in on these discussion meetings and there was a projector set up showing the cover of the book, so you knew where the conversation was; there were microphones so that the audience could actually hear the discussion; AND there was a moment set aside to invite brief audience comment. While I am grateful that this is an open meeting, it is not as open and welcoming as it could be, as it has in the past.

I was sorry that I couldn't attend the teen feedback session yesterday afternoon. That's always refreshing. Late yesterday, I attended the first straw poll and that was illuminating. Quite a few of my favorites of 2016 did quite well. Here's hoping. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

ALA MW 17 - Day 2

Today started real early with the famed Little Brown Breakfast Preview. Victoria is back (!) and five editors gave a spectacular overview of their spring releases. I am so excited about, well, the entire list. Each one seems like my next favorite book. I have already shipped my arcs and inadvertently shipped the handout with the lists, so I may circle back and blog about the titles later. My big takeaway: Jerry Pinkney has retold and illustrated The Three Billy Goats Gruff!! So excited for this. Of course, there were no fngs, but he's an automatic purchase for both my school and personal libraries. 

Next up was Scholastic's Picture Book Salon, featuring Peter H. Reynolds, who I finally got to meet in person, Kate Messner and Carmen Agra Deedy. Each spoke from the heart of their newest picture books and they are all books I cannot wait to share with my students and teachers back at school.

It was pouring rain by the time we left the Picture Book Salon and the walk back to the convention center was interesting. Does rain ruin leather? Tried my best to protect my horde of books. Priorities.

After dumping my books and changing my clothes, I had some time before my next publisher event so I returned to the exhibit hall after learning that Notables was back where I had just come from! Aargh! Typical conference mess-ups. On top of that, my room key stopped working and I'm staying at a hotel that requires a key to use the elevator. 

I picked up another bunch of arcs this go-round. Then headed to the Simon and Schuster Middle Grade Luncheon, which featured Hena Khan and her newest middle grade novel that is launching S & S's Salaam imprint. I am very excited to read Amana's Voice, releasing in March. I was also psyched to hear about Barbara Dee's next book, Star Crossed, also due out in March.

I briefly considered joining the Women's March, which started a couple of blocks away at the Center for Civil Rights and proceeded past my hotel, but opted instead to sit in on Best Fiction for Young Adults. I sadly could not make the teen feedback session, which I always find refreshing. Instead, I sat in on the first straw poll of the list. I read a fair number of books on the list, but am still behind on my YA reading. I was gratified that some of my faves of the year did well in the polling. We'll see what the final list brings.

I am heading out to dinner with Barb Langridge of abookandahug.com in an hour or so. Curiously, I am rather hungry. After all the eating I did this morning, I thought I would not eat until tomorrow. Let's hope all the lugging of bags of books (twice) to the FedEx office burned off some calories. It sure did a number on my lymphedema. 

I can't wait to read what I sent home. I chose books with specific students in mind. 

What's New? Stacking the Shelves - ALA MW Edition

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

I am in Atlanta for ALA Midwinter and wandered the Exhibit Floor when it opened this evening. I have become fairly judicious when selecting arcs at these conferences. They are heavy to carry around and I have to be careful thanks to lymphedema. They are also pricey to ship. And, if I don't get to read them, I feel terrible.

These were my first round picks:

One Last Word by Nikki Grimes
The Inexplicable Logic of by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Rose Blood by E.M. Howard
Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson
Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger
Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn

I have a busy day ahead but would be just as happy to curl up and read all day long!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Memes: The Wizard's Dog by Eric Kahn Gale

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

The Wizard's Dog by Eric Kahn Gale. 277 p. Crown Books for Young Readers/ Random House Children's Books, January, 2017. 9780553537369.

Publisher synopsis: For fans of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom comes an offbeat, comedic spin on the Excalibur legend told from the point of view of a talking dog who wants to be a magician! 
Meet Nosewise. He’s spunky. He’s curious. And he’s a dog who can’t understand why his pack mates Merlin and Morgana spend all day practicing magic tricks. If it’s a trick they want, he’s the dog to ask! He can already Sit!, Stay!, and Roll Over!
But there’s no way Nosewise is Stay!ing when his master and best friend, Merlin, is kidnapped. There’s nothing Nosewise won’t do to get Merlin back, even if it means facing the strange Fae people and their magic-eating worms, or tangling with the mysterious Sword in the Stone. But it may take more than sniffing out a spell to do it!
Nosewise’s hilarious escapades and steadfast loyalty get him and his companions through King Arthur’s Dark Ages.

First Line: All dogs hate doors. They keep you inside when you want to go outside and outside when everyone else is inside.

Page 56: I saw merlin widen his stance and lift his staff. he held it for a moment while the Asteria glowed. Then he leveled it at Lord Destrian and unleashed a fireball as big as a bushel of hay.
     It hurtled through the smoking air, but the worms whipped around and dove into the fire like it was an enormous apple. in a moment it was extinguished, and the worms grew larger in the smoke.

I just love King Arthur retellings and have high hope for this one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. 320 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, February 28, 2017. 9780399186370.

Publisher synopsis: A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Walk Two Moons.
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

Even without the suggestion about fans of Counting by 7s, I wanted this book.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

The TTT theme over at Broke and Bookish is underrated books of 2016. 

I recently read, was astounded by, reviewed and am stymied why Seven and a half tons of steel by Janet Nolan didn't get more attention!

I also agree with YA Book Nerd that Barbara Dee's Truth or Dare should've received more love. It's a book that every girl needs to read.

I also wish that Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan got more attention. I didn't get to review it on the blog but this sweet book features short chapters, winning main characters with interesting points-of-view and a great audiobook to boot. 

I also wish that Monika Schröder got more attention. Her books are quietly lovely and Be Light Like a Bird was so poignant.