Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Arrivals!

April 16th - April 30th

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Librarian's Pick of the Week: A Long Way Gone

Title: A Long Way Gone
Author: Ishmael Beah
Genre: Biography
Published: 2007
Age: 14+

I thought this week I'd recommend something a little more serious, and a lot more true.

Synopsis: "This gripping story by a children's-rights advocate recounts his experiences as a boy growing up in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, during one of the most brutal and violent civil wars in recent history. Beah, a boy equally thrilled by causing mischief as by memorizing passages from Shakespeare and dance moves from hip-hop videos, was a typical precocious 12-year-old. But rebel forces destroyed his childhood innocence when they hit his village, driving him to leave his home and travel the arid deserts and jungles of Africa. After several months of struggle, he was recruited by the national army, made a full soldier and learned to shoot an AK-47, and hated everyone who came up against the rebels. The first two thirds of his memoir are frightening: how easy it is for a normal boy to transform into someone as addicted to killing as he is to the cocaine that the army makes readily available. But an abrupt change occurred a few years later when agents from the United Nations pulled him out of the army and placed him in a rehabilitation center. Anger and hate slowly faded away, and readers see the first glimmers of Beah's work as an advocate. Told in a conversational, accessible style, this powerful record of war ends as a beacon to all teens experiencing violence around them by showing them that there are other ways to survive than by adding to the chaos."

Review: ""We went to work killing everyone in sight. We didn't waste a single bullet." The prose is flat, almost detached, as the writer speaks quietly of what he witnessed, and what he did, as a young teen soldier in Sierra Leone. It could be a kids' war game, but it was real. On the run in 1993 after the rebels ("freedom fighters") invaded his town and killed his parents, the 12-year-old sees massacre up close: heads chopped off, people burned alive. A year later, recruited by the army to get revenge ("think of it as . . . the highest service you can perform for your country "), always drugged, he becomes a perpetrator. At 15, he is rescued by a UN committee, which helps him slowly confront the trauma and begin to recover; then he is brought to the UN in New York to bear witness. A final note tells you he graduated from Oberlin College. One boy's horrific memoir captures the reality of those distant news pictures of kids with guns somewhere in Africa." - Hazel Rockman

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Trailer: Zombies vs. Unicorns

I know this book came out a while ago, but I just HAD to share this bizarre and kinda hilarious book trailer with you. It certainly isn't what I expected when I hit "play." I think I might just have to check this book out now. And I think I will be on Team Unicorn.

Title: Zombies vs. Unicorns
Author: Holly Black; etc.
Published: 2010
Age: 13+
Synopsis: It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Bucking the Sarge

Title: Bucking the Sarge
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2004
Age: 10+

Author Christopher Paul Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan and spent thirteen years on an assembly line hanging car doors. His story The Watsons Go to Birmingham received a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor, and Bud, Not Buddy became the first novel to win both of these awards.

Synopsis: "Luther T. Farrell has got to get out of Flint, Michigan. As his best friend Sparky says, “Flint’s nothing but the Titanic.” And his mother, a.k.a. the Sarge, says, “Take my advice and stay off the sucker path.” The Sarge milked the system to build an empire of slum housing and group homes. Luther’s just one of the many people trapped in the Sarge’s Evil Empire—but he’s about to bust out. If Luther wins the science fair this year, he’ll be on track for college and a future as America’s best-known and best-loved philosopher. All he’s got to do is beat his arch rival Shayla Patrick, the beautiful daughter of Flint’s finest undertaker—and the love of Luther’s life. Sparky’s escape plans involve a pit bull named Poofy and the world’s scariest rat. Oh, and Luther. Add to the mix Chester X., Luther’s mysterious roommate; Dontay Gaddy, a lawyer whose phone number is 1-800-SUE’M ALL; and Darnell Dixon, the Sarge’s go-to guy who knows how to break all the rules. Bucking the Sargeis a story that only Christopher Paul Curtis could tell. Once again the Newbery Award–winning author of Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 gives us a whole new angle on life and a world full of unforgettable and hilarious characters. Readers will root for Luther and Sparky every step of the way."

Review: "Luther T. Farrell is not like most other 15-year-olds living in Flint, Michigan. While he's working hard to win the school science fair for the third year, he is also in charge of one of his mother's group homes and that includes driving the men to rehab and cleaning them up after bathroom accidents. Luther and his mom, a.k.a. Sarge, are financially well off because she's also a slumlord and a loan shark, but the eighth grader is uncomfortable with his life. Christopher Paul Curtis's novel recounts how this often philosophical youth decides to do what's right and turns the tables on his mother. Luther's best friend Sparky, Shayala his heart's desire, and a wise elderly resident of the group home add humor, wisdom, and a bit of romance to this story that mixes comedy and questions about morality. Michael Boatman's narration has the breezy bounce of inner-city youth, but he also captures the serious undertone of the story. The sound quality is good, and a bit of music adds a hip beat to the opening and closing of the recording. There are a few wacky subplots and some funky characters, but both urban and suburban listeners will connect with the teen appropriate dialogue and admire the way Luther emerges victorious after making tough choices." - Library Journal

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coming Soon: Inheritance

The release date has finally been announced! Eight years after Paolini's first book, Eragon, was released, the fourth and final book in the series will be available on November 8, 2011.

Here's the full story from Publisher's Weekly:

More than a decade in the making, Christopher Paolini’s bestselling Inheritance Cycle draws to a close this fall with the publication of the fourth and final book, Inheritance, which Knopf Books for Young Readers will publish on November 8. Random House has announced a 2.5 million–copy first printing for the book. “The burning questions asked by fans around the world will finally be answered in this last installment,” said Paolini in a statement about the new book. “All will be revealed!”

Paolini’s is quite the publishing success story: he began writing the first book in the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon, at age 15, and self-published it through Lightning Source. Then Knopf signed up the book and published it in fall 2003 (when Paolini was 20), followed by Eldest (2005) and Brisingr (2008). Combined, the books have sold 25 million copies worldwide, and Eragon was made into a 2006 film that grossed more than $75 million in the U.S. and nearly $250 million globally.

“The publication of Inheritance brings a dramatic and satisfying close to one of the best-loved fantasy series in recent publishing history,” said Nancy Hinkel, VP and Publishing Director and Knopf BFYR. Executive editor Michelle Frey edited Inheritance along with the three preceding books. Inheritance will be published simultaneously in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand; in the U.S. audio and e-book versions will also be available on November 8th. Knopf is planning a 10-city tour for Paolini, beginning on the book’s pub date in New York City.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Arrivals!

March 16th - March 31st 

Book Trailer: Paper Towns

Looks like Paper Towns by John Green might possibly be made into a movie. Green is working on the screenplay, but seems to be getting a little irked by the movie production companies he's been working with.

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Published: 2008
Age: 14+
Synopsis: In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Bog Child

Title: Bog Child
Author: Siobhan Dowd
Published: 2008
Age: 12+

Dreary, suspensful, dark. The perfect thing for rainy April days!

Synopsis: "Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she's been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him - his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what, a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls. Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit."

Review: "When Fergus McCann, 18, crosses the border from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic to steal peat for his uncle to sell as fuel, what he digs up is a small body, an obvious victim of violence. Are the Troubles now claiming children? he wonders. But nothing is as it seems in the late Dowd's rich work, set in 1981 and exploring sacrifices made in the name of family and freedom. Archeologists suspect the body is ancient, and they overrun the hillside of Fergus's discovery. Haunted by his find, Fergus learns its story in vivid dreams. Daylight provides no respite. His brother, an imprisoned IRA member, has joined Bobby Sands's hunger strike. His father salutes; his mother grieves. Three exams away from earning entrance to medical school, Fergus doesn't understand the strikers' mission, but his brother is resolute: A coffin's a mighty statement, Ferg. Experiencing first love with the lead archeologist's daughter, Fergus is torn when he's blackmailed into being a courier by his brother's friend. Dowd raises questions about moral choices within a compelling plot that is full of surprises, powerfully bringing home the impact of political conflict on innocent bystanders." - Publisher's Weekly

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Because It's Tuesday

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book List: The Great Outdoors

  {from Destination 360}

So it's that time of year. THE SNOW IS MELTING! I don't know about you guys, but I have been absolutely itching to be outside. I want to go hiking and camping and canoeing and bird watching and, well.. pretty much anything as long as it involves sunshine and trees. So to assuage my overwhelming desire to slosh through what's left of the snow so I can get my fix, I have made up a young adult book list dedicated to all things "the great outdoors." So if you have also been itching to get outside, you can pick up one of these books to keep you busy while the rest of the snow actually melts:

Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things by Wendelin Van Draanen
While on her first hiking and camping trip, thirteen-year-old Sammy tries to solve a mystery involving endangered condors while avoiding scorpions, ticks, and embarrassment.

They Never Came Home by Lois Duncan
Two teenage boys disappear while on a hiking trip in the mountains. 

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
From his 1776 Pennsylvania homestead, thirteen-year-old Samuel, who is a highly-skilled woodsman, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Indians who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead Speare
While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.

Peak by Roland Smith
A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Records the courage and self-reliance of an Indian girl who lived alone for eighteen years on an isolated island off the California coast when her tribe emigrated and she was left behind.

Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs
After fourteen-year-old Andy slips away from his kayaking group to visit the wilderness site of his archaeologist father's death, a storm strands him on Admiralty Island, Alaska, where he manages to survive, encounters unexpected animal and human inhabitants, and looks for traces of the earliest prehistoric immigrants to America. 

 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive initially with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents' divorce.

So if you're looking for a bit of a break from the routine, you might want to consider reading some of our camping/hiking-related picks, all of which are available at the library.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Fire

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Published: 2009
Age: 14+

Though this is the prequel to "Graceling" you don't need to read one before the other. But once you read this one, you'll be running back to the library to pick up the sequel!

Synopsis: "She is the last of her kind... It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books."

Review: "This prequel to Graceling introduces Fire, a monster-woman with the fundamental elements of her kind: a breathtaking beauty that inspires nearly irresistible sexual attraction and the dual powers of reading thoughts and bending another's will to her purposes. Though her father used his monster powers to control the kingdom for his own evil purposes, Fire struggles to use hers only for good. Her growing regard for the king, his brothers, and his sister leads to some uncomfortable dilemmas and decisions as well as, eventually, the revelation of old secrets. Drawn in to tip the delicate balance of forces struggling over the realm, she begins to trust herself to act on behalf of the royal family, though in doing so she violates a long-held principle that has held her considerable powers in check. Like its predecessor, this novel focuses on a young woman who thinks for herself, wields considerable powers, and acts courageously. While the two stories take place in adjoining lands and one character appears in both books, readers can enjoy this novel without having read Graceling. And enjoy it they will, with its vivid storytelling, strongly realized alternate world, well-drawn characters, convincing fantasy elements, gripping adventure scenes, and memorable love story." - Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Arrivals!

March 16th - March 31st 

Book Trailer: Leviathan

I still can't quite figure out what this book is actually about, but this trailer makes me want to read it anyways! The aesthetics remind me so much of that 80's movie High Spirits. It must be the moving paper squid!

Title: Leviathan
Author: Scott Westerfield
Published: 2009
Age: 13+
Synopsis: In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!
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