Friday, December 30, 2011

Gaming Review: Uncharted 3 & Gaming Alliance Meeting

Active Cinematic experience.  That's what the lead developers at Naughty Dog call the Uncharted series.  They are not liars.  Playing Uncharted, any piece of the trilogy, is like watching a movie.  Not as good as an Indiana Jones, but extremely better than that travesty Tomb Raider.  And I'm a Lara Croft fan!

Small nuances, for instance how Nathan will gently touch the wall on his way past, or stumble over things, make him a character that is comfortable to play.  I often find myself playing and thinking he's a real actor.  Or that he was at least based on one.  Which he was!  Uncharted's main character,Nathan Drake was based on Harrison Ford and Johnny Knoxville, actually.  Crazy, right?  I know.

I've played each of the Uncharted games, and found that though the creators very clearly designed a male Lara Croft, I'm so glad they expounded on what was missing from Tomb Raider.  Each of the Uncharted games have a plane crash, a train of some sort, and a boat.  Same things each time...and yet I'm always impressed.  It is Nate who makes the game what it is, and his great band of friends (Everyone but his girlfriend/estranged wife Elena Fisher.  She irks me a bit.)

Similar to the  way he touches things, the throwaway commentary he spills out is great as well.  When you're playing and feeling as though you've had just about enough of the shootout you're in, Nate will say something like, "I'm sick of this!"  He stumbles, stutters, and missteps.  He's a fragile character, something most video games won't give us, and that's what makes him so much fun to play.

YA Review: Giving Up the V by Serena Robar

Giving Up the V by Serena Robar
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was NOT what I expected it to be.
From the description, I was truly expecting a humorous journey through the life of Spencer Davis, proud virgin.  What I got was a journey through the life of Spencer Davis,, Just kinda waiting on someone to give it to.

I'm not a prude, nor am I a stranger to books that cover the sexual ideas and philosophies of teenaagers, but this book left me unsatisfied.

Spencer Davis has just turned 16.  And in her house that means her first trip to the gynecologist and a brand new shiny pack of birth control pills.  The first date in the stirrups proves to be mortifying but not fatal and Spencer is less than enthused about receiving this rite of passage because she personally can't see herself needing the pills.  She isn't very much like the other members of her "Crew", who are very much sexually active.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Picture Book Review: One Love by Cedella Marley

Sometimes the smiles on an illustration can make your own face light up.  I found that was definitely the case with "One Love".  Bob Marley's oldest daughter, Cedella Marley takes the basic lyrics of her father's well-known song and puts together a short and endearing little book.

Little C, a happy little brown girl with dreadlock pigtails, is joining her family and neighborhood to build "One Love Park", while she remarks on how she finds love throughout her world. Small nods to Bob Marley are found within the pages as his likeness is found on coffee mugs, t-shirts and posters.

Gaming News: Telltale Games Makes Adaptations an Art

I discovered Telltale Games quite on accident.  I was cruising through the PlayStation Store, trying to find something new to play, when I came across Back To The Future: The Game, and darn near fell out of my chair.  A playable Marty McFly?!  An all new adventure in the Delorean?  A Delorean I could fly?!  My geek went into overdrive.

The game itself was fun, but it was their dedication to original B2TF fans that I found most amazing.  I think first of all, one of the greatest things to me was that they consulted Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, the original writers, to make sure their storylines were cohesive and made sense in the Back to the Future universe.  I HATE when game developers and even screenwriters create sequels without giving respect to the original story.  To my personal excitement, Christopher Lloyd not only agreed to allow his likeness be used in the game, but also signed on to voice Dr. Emmett Brown.  GREAT SCOTT! Telltale also secured smaller roles like that of the original Jennifer, Claudia Wells, and made sure to include Doc's dog Einstein.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

YA Review: Scored by Lauren Mclaughlin

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My ACT score was in the 20's.
Nobody cares about that anymore.

My GPA has always been "above average"
No one wants to hear about it.

My life has been carefully controlled by grades, scores, ratings and rank since before I was even aware of it, all under the premise that if I scored well enough, the finances that I didn't have wouldn't matter.  That without these scores, I was doomed to only achieve the levels my money would allow.  The rich children would have better opportunities, but the well-scored could always level the field through merit-based scholarship.

Recently, I've begun to monitor my Klout score.  Klout is an algorithim calculations based website that monitors your social media influence.  Higher scores reflect the amount of people on the web that value what you talk about and share.  Companies use these scores to pinpoint the best people to help market their products.  For instance, a high klout score with an emphasis on Cars, may get you a free week-long test drive from a car company.

On the surface these things sound AWESOME.  No more is it about "who you know", or "what you have", but it's about YOU.  Who you are.  What you do.  Fair and impartial, technology does the work that humans have failed at.

That said, let me just start this review by admitting that the most chilling thing that hit me almost immediately, was that Imani, our main character's "score" in this book is 64...

My Klout "score" is 64.

We're ALREADY scoring and charting and tagging ourselves into a fresh new caste system.  One where everyone is "better" because no one is.

Oh my gosh where do I even begin.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gaming Review: Batman Arkham City

At the heart of every great game is one of two things:
1. A feeling of tangible success at reaching one of the goals.
2. A powerful and well-executed storyline capable of doing through action, what movies do through vision.

At the heart of every amazing game, is both.

The Premise
The story of Batman is not one we don’t know.  It isn’t some strange new imagining of the Dark Knight our parents used to watch or read.  No fanatical director has skewed the characters of our childhood into some fake replica that we can’t identify...(think the He-Man movie, or the “new” Smurfs).  Rocksteady Games stuck to the script, for the most part, and I’m extremely grateful that they did.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pieces of Programming: Zombie Week!

The idea for Zombie week started with the release of Dead Island, the ultra-horrific but greatly anticipated video game.  I knew my teens would love to get their hands on the game, and that it would have to be an after-hours event for them to really get the opportunity to play it in our teen room.  An exact week after I started working on their night, I got a visit from a dance instructor in the area who was trying to find ways to connect our library kids to her studio.  Her studio is actually a partner of our library, so I was more than happy to help in any way possible.  From chit-chatting with her, we finally decided to have one of her instructors visit the library during drama club and teach Thriller to my tweens!

Thus, Youth Services Zombie Week was born.

Though we called it a "week", the program really only consisted of two programs.  One for tweens and one for teens.  For the tweens, we had a very special Zombie edition of Drama Club, while my teens were treated to after-hours gaming that featured Dead Island{score}.

Our warm up games for Drama Club were Zombie based on this day and included a riveting round of "Don't Wake the Zombie"

Then came actually making our zombies.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hootie on Location Part II: ILA Conf 2011

The Illinois Library Association Conference took place in Rosemont this past week.  This was my first major library conference.  Back at work, it was also what I felt to be my best week of programming this year, but more on that later. First,

The 2011 ILA Conference:

Hootie on Location Part I: Anderson Books YA Lit Conf

I've been away because I've been SWAMPED!
But in a good way.
First things first, I had the great pleasure of attending the Anderson Books YA Lit Conference in Naperville, IL.
I've seen so many other bloggers talking about it, and I wanted to be sure and shout it out as well.  What an outstanding group of authors and book lovers.  There were tons of things happening in the breakout sessions, but the two parts of this 1 day conference that have made lasting impressions on me were the "What's New in YA lit" session, the inspiring words of author Mike Lupica, and seeing authors Coe Booth and Jacqueline Woodson in person.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Librarian Noire: Thoughts on Being a Librarian

At a mere couple weeks shy of the big 3-0, I am surprised to discover how many of my family and friends are unfamiliar with the importance, value and enjoyment of libraries.

When I first hear that someone doesn't visit the library, I'm always taken aback.  I can't fathom how they got through high school, let alone college, without learning how to navigate and use a public or school library.  Now, I'll admit that I spent a good portion of my youth getting put out of the library with my boisterous classmates.

We'd be given some  assignment by well-meaning teachers who assumed our parents would take us to research, but we'd all get on the bus together and before you knew it, there came security.  But I thought even with that kind of experience that all of those rowdy kids would, like me, return later to finish those projects.  You had to know that the trip with your friends, or that study session with your boo was the practice round.  You ALWAYS, if you wanted a good grade, should know to re-study/re-research.

But I guess that's just my nerd showing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Picture Book Reviews: Toddler Treats

Got a request for some great reads for 3-year old's!  Here's a few of my faves.

Lottie Paris Lives Here by Angela Johnson

Lottie Paris is a busy young lady today.
She and Papa Pete have to visit the park, Lottie has to build a castle in her room, host a tea party,  secretly steal Papa Pete's phone to play with, etc.  You know, normal busy little girl stuff!
Readers of other Angela Johnson stories will love Lottie Paris just as much.  Through the picture on their wall, it's clear that Papa Pete is a single father or maybe even an adoptive dad.  Readers never see his face, so the story takes on a very Muppet Babies feel (Nanny's legs), but he's got just as much personality . LOL
Lottie ends up in the quiet chair a couple times, and she's busier than a bee, but she's also cute as a button and very loving.  Little girls will love the cute and colorful pictures while adults will chuckle at the similarities to Lottie Paris and perhaps a similar girl in their life.  The illustrations are bright and cheery, and Lottie Paris is a serious cutie.

Friday, September 30, 2011

YA Nonfiction Review: Dating Declassified by Jeanne Mayo

Dating Declassified: The Uncensored Truth About Friendship, Dating and Sex by Jeanne Mayo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are two things that young adults value over anything:
1. Honesty
2. Trust in their abilities and maturity.
Jeanne Mayo has without a doubt made it clear that she gives these two things freely.
The attractive cover and enticing table of contents made me grab this book and I'm glad that I did. I was not aware of the fact that it was written from a Christian perspective until I had already been caught up in the captivating narration. For somewhat of a "self-help" book, Mayo doesn't sound as though she is telling the readers what to do, but merely reminding them that they already know what and how to do what they need to. (Slow down, read that again)
The fact that the book is written by a Christian Youth pastor is not covered up or hidden, but many of her suggestions and statements can apply to ALL youth (and some adults).

Nonfiction Review: My Life as a Furry Red Monster

My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud by Kevin Clash My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 Very sweet. Almost too sweet. But then, what would you expect from Elmo!?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Books Week Passive Programming

It is Banned Books Week!!
I don't know why I get so excited about BBW each year.  I think it has something to do with the rebel in me. LOL  Something about sharing things with people that for whatever reason, someone else has deemed inappropriate for the rest of the world, gives me a rush.  This year, my greatest kick came out of telling people that "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" had been challenged at one point.
Most of my FB friends and younger patrons were completely taken aback by this news and it sparked an outstanding discussion about the other books people have challenged in the past.  My Facebook discussion lasted about three hours actually, and garnered great comments from friends who had no idea how passionate they were or could become about the subject..  Take THAT, Social Media critics!  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gaming Review: Mortal Kombat 9

There are some game franchises that will forever be a part of the history of modern gaming.  Super Mario is a family classic.  Resident Evil is a horror classic.  Sonic the Hedgehog is an adrenaline staple.  And Mortal Kombat is the reason we all started catching hell from our parents about what we played.

That "ABACABB" blood code got a lot of us in a lot of trouble.

But it was so fun.

Monday, September 19, 2011

YA Review: Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine God.
Now Imagine God as a 12 foot tall Tuskeegee Airman named Joe.
Now Imagine God, the Tuskeegee Airman named Joe, creating a place for all ghosts to dwell in six days.
Because of course on the seventh day, he rests.

The place he's built is called Ghostopolis, and all the types of the dead (live) there: Specters, Wisps, Bony Skeletons, Mummies and more. They reside in somewhat perfect harmony until a stranger named Vaughn appears and stirs up rumors and trouble between all the groups only to then present himself as the only one to bring peace. He uses giant bugs, summoned from the Underworld, to help him police Ghostopolis, and he secretly works to ensure that he will soon be as powerful and in control as Joe, who no one has seen for years.

And he would be successful too, if not for two problems: Traitors and Living People.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Books to Movies: Breaking Dawn Trailer


Are You Listening? *Giveaway*

As you can probably tell, I'm a bit of a nerd.
Aside from finding great nerdy things for myself, I tend to seek out nerdalicious things to share with my nieces and godchildren.  My goal is to make them the coolest little nerds you ever did see.  But I want them to have fun at the same time.

I came across the Noodleboro Playskool games on a recent trip to Five Below.  I like to keep games and books at my house for family members that visit, and I thought these would make for cute additions to my arsenal of activities.  There was a Pizza Listening game as well as a Manners game.  I grabbed the Listening game to try out.  What attracted me to these sets was the fact that each came with game pieces, a music cd, and also a book!  A complete activity set for $5!!

I knew I liked it, but would it pass the niece test?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

YA Review: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brooklyn Pierce is no stranger to catastrophic trouble. When she was two years old, she captured the hearts of millions when she fell down a mine shaft and was trapped for fifty-two hours. Now, at 15 years old, "Baby" Brooklyn is re-examining her life. Because "when you're being handcuffed and lowered into the backseat of a squad car," you kind of have to. She's just let a load of peer-pressure by her best friend Shayne Kingsley land her in serious trouble. Again.

This time, things can't be smoothed over by a flip of Shayne's gorgeous blonde hair, or by her quick ideas on what Brooks should say. No, burning down one of her mother's model homes can't be fixed by anyone but Brooklyn herself, by completing 200 hours of community service at a nearby nursing home and devoting her time to helping rebuild the home. Instead of focusing on the trouble she's in though, Brooklyn is more concerned with finding out what has happened to Shayne, since she hasn't seen or heard from her since they were busted by the cops.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Movies that Make Librarianship Haute.

Desk Set - Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

When you hear these dolls rattle off information like it ain't a thang, it is a priceless glance at what reference librarianship is like. There is also a sadly realistic view at how regardless of the skill we possess, computers and technology threaten to ruin it. Machines make things fast and easy, but there is NOTHING like the brainpower and service you can gain from a talented librarian. Google can get you the answer to your question but a good librarian can show you what your real question is and THEN answer it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NonFiction Review: A Belle In Brooklyn by Demetria Lucas

A Belle in Brooklyn: Advice for Living Your Single Life and Enjoying Mr. Right Now by Demetria L Lucas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always, ALWAYS try and keep an open mind when reading. I also try and keep an open mind in terms of the differences and similarities of married and single lives. I try and read lots of books on dating and single life, because they truly benefit relationships as a whole, and not just new ones. With all that being said, this book was a perfect fit for me.

First of all, I have to admit that what I enjoyed most about Ms. Lucas' Ms. Lucas. I may not agree with each and every philosophy or idea she presents, but I am greatly impressed and supportive of her reasoning behind them (if that makes sense). Her blues aren't like mine: I was married for most of my twenties while she explored singlehood and what it had to offer, but she is a thinker. And as a thinker, I feel on some level we are kindred spirits.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weeding: A Spooky Trip Through our YA Fiction

I often visit to laugh at the ridiculous things some librarians find on their shelves during weeding.  This week, however, I didn't even have to leave my own library to get a good chuckle.  With the summer being so busy, there isn't time for things like weeding and reorganizing so it is one of the first things we're getting started on now that the kids are back in school.

Each member of my department has an assigned section to weed, and I am the proud gardener of our Young Adult books, movies, and series.  When I tell you I have literally guffawed this week at some of the things I've come across, I am not exaggerating.  While some of these were taken off primarily because of age, and the fact that I doubt any of our current teens would touch them, there were also a few that contained just enough bad or misleading information to make me cringe, but just enough ironic cover-choices or contents to make me laugh out loud.

I use the MUSTY system when weeding:
Misleading (factually inaccurate),
Ugly (covers or damages that make you cringe),
Superseded (a better edition has come about),
Trivial (of no merit),
Your collection (The book is not of interest to the members of your library community or out of place in your collection)

Some of the books I found were in fact still relevant, but the covers were so bad that I had to pull them anyway and put in an order for updated copies. Others were ancient, the oldest I found had been purchased in 1987, but hadn't been checked out in years, or not at all.  I've decided to showcase a few of my favorite weeds of the week.
Enjoy, LOL.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

YA Review: SEX: A Book for Teens

Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex, and Safety by Nikol Hasler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very impressed with this book, but I'm sure it will be the type to get tons of reads in my library's teen room, but not actual checkouts.
I'd learned of the Midwest Teen Sex Show a while back when searching for good resources to direct my teens to about sex and reproductive health. The show is almost jarringly blunt and unrestricted and the conservative in me screamed out in fear. LOL Yet, I found it extremely informative and honest. The same can be said of my experience with the book.

Jackpot in a Lunchbox

And the Winner Is.....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Technology Treat: Pixton Comic Maker

As an outreach librarian, part of my job is finding ways to simplify and stimulate the work of area teachers and parents.  In that vein, next month I will be visiting an Open House at one of the local high schools.  While my first instinct was to bring a ton of programming flyers and bookmarks for the students, I began to realize that it is just as important for me to nurture the relationships between myself and the teachers.

So today, I tried out Pixton.  Pixton is a web-based comic-strip maker.   You decide how many panels you want in your strip, drag the characters into the poses you want, change the expressions, and add dialogue. It was VERY easy and free to use, though there is a paid professional version and an educator version as well.

 I highly recommend it for ages 9 and up.

I've taught before, so I understand completely how difficult it is to keep learning exciting, while also hitting benchmarks and professional goals.  There are times when book reports and even power point presentations just don't get it.  As we head farther into this techno-heavy era, it would just be ridiculous not to explore the many resources found all over.  BUT, it is also hard finding the time to sift through it all, though I've decided to try.  I'll be sharing my finds here, and with the teachers at the Open House.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Win a Free Book from Hartlyn Kids!!

So remember a couple weeks ago when I introduced everyone to my friends over at Hartlyn Kids Publishing?  The nifty publisher that seeks to expose readers to the lives and cultures from around the world?  Well, if you were interested in learning more about them, I've got awesome news.

HK is hosting their first book giveaway. Not only are they giving away The Bamboo Dance, signed by illustrator Lisa Butler, but also one of their cute Passports to keep up with this and any other HK books you read.  If I were you, I'd head on over to their blog and enter the givaway.

And if you haven't already, don't forget that I'm hosting a giveaway as well.

Ah...what could be better than free stuff?  MORE free stuff!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gaming Review: Dead Rising 2

This has been a year of undead.  From vampires to zombies, we've been bombarded.  Whoever designed this game, however, must have a personal belief that there never has seemed to be enough Zombies to go around.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Is In! (and a Giveaway!)

School has started in my villages.  The library has grown a bit quieter in the day now and kicks into pandemonium somewhere near 1:30ish.  I'm pretty sure that in a few weeks I'll be bored silly with all the quiet, but it is a good break from the summer reading frenzy.

Although I'm enjoying this slight break though, as an outreach librarian, part of my job is to,...well,..reach out.  I love finding resources to support schools and parents and this year in particular, I'm seriously interested in finding more exciting ways to help people stay motivated about reading and learning. Which is why I was really excited to find this book in our collection today, and thought it was a perfect segue into a giveaway.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Storytime Theme: Snakes and Snails and Reptile Tales

Icky, sticky and gooey goodness was the theme this week at my library.  Well, it was actually desserts and sweets but the week before was cows and ice its safe to say that I've had my fill of the frilly and fattening.  To give us some much needed balance, (and fun), I decided on a slithery and slimy focus for this week's storytime.  (I just used a LOT of adjectives...and parentheses).  Anyway, ON TO THE BOOKS!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To Read: If It Takes a Village, Build One and Losing My Cool

Found this one on Reading in Color.  I'm generally a fan of Mrs. Rock, so I'm looking forward to this.  My library doesn't have it, but I'm putting in my request.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

YA Graphic Review: Skim by Mariko Tamaki

Skim by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whenever I read a book that has graced a few banned lists, I always wonder why people don't trust young adults or worse yet, TEENS, to be intelligent and open-minded enough to ingest a story and take only the parts necessary to them. Contrary to belief, they are not as susceptible to peer pressure as most accuse them of being, and are actually more willing to step out on their own beliefs than most adults I know!

That being said, it is clear why Skim made the banned list. Teen Suicide, Student/Teacher impropriety, Wicca and homosexuality make it a prime target for rough attention. However, each and every one of those plot-lines is addressed in such a cavalier way that this book becomes all too important for young adults to read.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Trailer: Hartlyn Kids Books!

I am consistently reminded and convinced that I have in my possession the most outstanding collection of friends.  They are innovative, expressive, and forward-thinking men and women who truly want to see this world improve by way of reaching out to children and young adults. I'm always amazed and excited to see what they think of next.

Today, I present my friends from Hartlyn Kids!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Currently Reading: The Sons of Liberty

While browsing through this month's School Library Journal, I found myself interested in this new series.  The Sons of Liberty is basically a story of two runaway slaves during the civil war, who through a cruel experiment conducted by the son of Benjamin Franklin, are gifted with superpowers.

Um, Yeah.  Gifted with Superpowers.
Threw me for a second too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Books to Movies: Hunger Games News

Thanks to a glimpse provided by Green Bean Teen Queen, I saw the Entertainment Weekly premiere of and Peeta and Gale (Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth) and figured you guys wanted  to see it too.  Here ya go.


Random Librarian Thoughts: Farewell SRP

I am ecstatic that our Summer Reading Program is over.

Shhh, don't tell anyone.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Storytime Theme: Yummy In My Tummy!

Who doesn't like a good story about food?  Eating tends to bring people together.  It gets us all started talking about what we like and don't like, and it's the one thing that ALL of us do.  No matter who we are, where we live, or what we believe in, we all eat something.

There are so many great picture books about food that I just couldn't fit them all into this one list, and I'm sure you can find others you like if none of these get your stomach grumbling.  One word of caution though:  if you choose to do this theme for your library or home storytime, I would advise having an edible treat for your kiddos (and yourself) immediately afterwards.  Reading about all these tasty tidbits will have everyone leaving a little peckish.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

YA To Read: Beacon Hills High by Mo'Nique

Once again, a cruise through the stacks to find something for a patron, results in me finding something I want to stop drop and devour.  I had no idea that Mo'Nique had a Young Adult novel!  (insert my shamed face)  Of course, it centers on a plus-sized teen, which I have to say actually draws me to the story.  Mo'Nique has a way of saying just what us full-figured chicks are thinking.  Here's the jacket description courtesy of GoodReads:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

YA Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know how there's those books that everyone LOVES, and you feel as though you most certainly have to try them out and take part in the collective euphoria?  Your heart palpitates when you are finally able to check it out from your local library, and you get goosebumps as you start the first chapter...then somewhere during the fourth or fifth, you realize that you aren't having nearly as much fun as everyone else claimed to have had?
This was my experience with Uglies.

I really wanted to jump all over this book.  According to every must-read YA list, Scott Westerfeld's Ugly series was one to leave you chomping at the bit for more.  While I do agree that the storyline is captivating and extremely frightening, I have to admit that I'm not exactly salivating to complete the series. But that being said, it was worth the read.

Uglies takes place some time in the future, after our current generations, referred to as Rusties by our descendants, are extinct.  The powers that be of the future have decided that most of our societal ills are a result of our differences. To avoid having their civilization meet the same hate-filled fate as ours, they decide that all people at age 16 must undergo mandatory plastic surgery and become Pretty by modifying skin tones, facial and body features, even hair. With everyone looking the same, and life becoming a party, who has time to start wars and conflicts?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Technology Trials: Google+

So far, I don't get it.
It's not that I don't get what it's supposed to do.  It's that I don't get what makes it stand out from Facebook.  I want to like it.  But for now, it gets a meh...
This quote I found sums it up perfectly:
"On Google+ Launch, I bet $FBOOK feels the same way $GOOG felt when $MSFT launched Bing." - Justin Paterno


Thursday, July 14, 2011

YA Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Often in my career, I've come across photographs.
Some are left between the pages of donated or returned items. Others still are found on library floors and tables; accidental droppings from the purses and pockets of patrons. I stare at these photographs and am unable to thrown them away because I feel as though I'm discarding the lives found within them. I find myself imagining who the people are, and how they felt during the scenes I'm eavesdropping on, but never have I constructed such an enchanting and haunting tale as this one.

From found and collected photos , Ransom Riggs has pulled together an adventure that appeals to a range of my interests. Multiple times within this story, I found myself feeling as though I'd discovered a land that was the perfect mix of Percy Jackson, Pan's Labyrinth, Through the Looking Glass and others. From the very first chapter, I realized that I wouldn't be able to rest until I'd devoured this tale of loss, love, family, adventure and history.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Read: How they Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Bragg, Georgia, and Kevin O'Malley. How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. New York: Walker &, 2011.

This one graced our shelf of new books this week and I bounced between grossed out and completely intrigued.  I have a HUGE stack of books to read right now, but as soon as I get a bit of free time, I'm definitely going to read this one.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

YA Graphic Review: Level Up by Gene Yang

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Almost every gamer has had this boss battle.
Almost every young adult has had this hurdle.
The one where what you LOVE to do, is questioned by parents who want you to do things that will get you a job.

Dennis Ouyang was bitten by the video game bug when he was six years old but try as he might, his parents refused to even let him have money for the arcade, let alone purchase a home system.  Playing games is no way to learn how to "eat much bitterness", his father decides, and instead steers young Dennis into a life of science and schoolwork.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Storytime: It's Raining Cats and Dogs

So I came up with this theme today as I worked on my storytime for this month and I thought I'd hit on some amazing idea, then I found that there have actually been a few other witty librarians who have come up with the very same.  You know what they say about great minds. A couple of the titles: Raindrop, Plop and Kitten's Summer, are great to tie this theme together because they actually feature cats and dogs in the rain. However, if there is anything I've learned from libraries and librarians over the past few years though, its that no matter how simple the theme, each person will execute it differently.  So, that being said, here's my take on the Raining Cats and Dogs theme.

I tried this theme with my nieces last weekend and I think it'll be great for my library kids.  I do Family Storytime, which consists of a LOT of different age groups.  In that respect, I've added books for toddlers as well as older preschoolers.  With the amount of summer storms we've been having, I think this one will be great.

Theme: It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Books for Babies and Toddlers:
Kitten’s Summer by Eugenie Fernandes
Bad Dog, Marley by John Grogan
Raindrop Plop by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
I Got Two Dogs by John Lithgow
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to Sleep by Bill Martin
Good Boy, Fergus by David Shannon
Cat the Cat, Who is That by Mo Willems

Books for Preschoolers:
Diggy Takes Charge by Caroline Jayne Church
Doggy Dreams by Nancy Kapp Chapman
Dogs Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
The Cat Barked by Lydia Monks
There are No Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
No Dogs Allowed by Anne Davis

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gaming Review: Portal 2 (First-Person)

This past week I finished up the solo storyline of Portal 2, and I have been singing the praises of this humorous and challenging puzzle game ever since.

Tween Read Review: A Tale Dark And Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perhaps the best advice found in this book was written in the author's final note: "Trust the stories, and trust that children can handle it, whatever IT is."

I've been convinced of this very thing since I began studying story years ago. Too often we have watered down these tales in the interest of making US more comfortable while robbing children of the stories that they would love. If they can handle the idea of a wretched pair of parents leaving them out in the woods to starve to death or be eaten by a cannibalistic witch with a gingerbread house, then why not hit them with the "real" story of how they fought dragons, cut off heads and fingers, and were almost chopped to bits by their first real crush?

Monday, June 20, 2011

YA Graphic Review: Brain Camp by Susan Kim

Brain Camp by Susan Kim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jenna and Lucas are pains at home.  Jenna is too silly and free-spirited for her prestigious and acadademic family.  Her parents worry about her, and her younger sister doesn't even want to be seen with her.  Lucas, son of a single mom, gets horrible grades despite his intellect.  Both teens and families are surprised when a representative from Camp Fielding visits their home to invite/recruit them.