Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best Young Adult Books of 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Maybe the best-written young adult novel of 2012, John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is a humorous, heartbreaking take on terminal illness, friendship, and being alive. Known for his acute insight into the mind of teens, Green's newest novel is different from his other work, focusing instead on a female character whom he infuses with equal parts wit and charm. While the themes of the novel might be more suitable for older teens, those who like their books to have depth and more than a little gravity are sure to experience something achingly honest.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Though Libba Bray's last couple books have focused more on social satire in the most hilarious way possible, her newest book is a return to the historical fantasy genre that got the Printz-Award winning author started. Featuring a cast of magical characters, the novel takes place in the roaring 20s and centers around a series of mysterious murders that lead back to a secret, powerful cult. While the book's length might be a deterrent to some readers, Bray always keeps the pace fast and the clues coming even faster.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Oliver's second installment of the Delirium trilogy picks up right where the first book left off. Now free of a society that "cures" its citizens from "deliria", a.k.a. love., Lena has to survive on her own without friends, food, or shelter. When she meets up with a derelict group on the outside, she's forced to make crucial decisions to ensure her survival. While I felt the book was not as gripping as its predecessor, I'm still eagerly looking forward to the series' finale in March.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal
Essentially a condensed version of Walter Isaacson's epic biography, Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different is a fast-paced sketch of the late Apple co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. Regardless of one's personal feelings on the Mac vs. PC debate, the book manages to capture the unique and curious mind behind one of the world's most well-known brands in short bursts of chapters that never feel long-winded or susceptible to hero-worship. Filled with photographs and quick fact boxes, it's great for reluctant readers and those that prefer non-fiction.

                                      Supergirl Mixtapes by Meagan Brothers
While the premise of this novels seems light-hearted at first glance -- Maria is sent to live with her estranged mother in New York City where she can finally spend her days roaming record stores -- the story actually delves into the complex issues of parenthood, individuality, dependence, and the inevitable trouble of keeping secrets. As in her previous novel, Debbie Harry Sings in French, Brothers gives her characters the freedom to make their own choices, inviting readers to experience the consequences of tough decisions and the difficult road to self-awareness.

-Written by Anna

Monday, December 17, 2012

This Week in Youth Services...

Tuesday is a busy day in Youth Services!  We have our After School Craft at 4 PM, open to children ages 6 and up.  Story Time Fun is at 6:30 PM in the Story Time Room, for children up to age 7, and there's still space available!  If you are interested, please call the Youth Services Desk to register at 708-687-3700.  Our awesome Teen Advisory Group is meeting at 7 PM on Thursday.  The group is open to kids in grade 6 and up.  On Saturday, we'll be treated to the fantastic Melikin Puppets presenting the Shoemaker and His Elves and The Night Before Christmas at 10:30 AM. And of course, this week the Reference and Youth Services Departments have joined forces to offer snacks to aid high school students as they prepare for their finals!  In addition to the snacks, the library has free wi-fi, study carrels, study rooms and of course lots of books and reference materials.  See you this week!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Recommendations from Youth Services

 What better way for children to learn about inappropriate behavior and positive behavior but to see dinosaurs acting poorly and also acting well?  I love Jane Yolen & Mark Teague's newest book which is wonderful for Christmas called How Do Dinosaurs say Merry Christmas?  The book is full of various dinosaurs (with their names listed somewhere on the page) causing havoc.  Kids can laugh at it, but hopefully that provides a teachable moment too for parents.  The last few pages are devoted to the well-mannered dinosaurs modeling kind, helpful behavior. 

 Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton is a delightful book to read to young children with bright colorful pictures of various animals with their instruments in a Christmas parade.  It would be fun to make the musical sounds and motions of drums and trombones along with your child or make your own "Joy! Joy! Joy!" banner like the piggies. 

 Merry Christmas! 
-submitted with joy by Janice

Bluford High series is set in an inner-city high school in Los Angeles. Books are written to draw in reluctant readers in grades 6-10. Both male and female characters are featured and cover many topics that teens today are dealing with in their lives on a daily basis. The books are relatively short at about 200 pages and include elements from many literary genres. This series offers something that almost every reader can relate to and appeals to readers of all ages.

-submitted by Becky

Monday, December 10, 2012

This Week in Youth Services...

We have some fantastically festive programs coming up this week!  On Wednesday at 7 PM, Miss Joy is presenting Bedtime Story Time.  We're going to be reading some holiday stories, singing songs and making a craft! On Friday afternoon at 3:30 PM, Miss Anna's YA Book Discussion Group for ages 11 and up will be meeting to discuss The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman.  Copies of the book are still available at the Youth Services Desk.  To learn more about the selection, check out our book trailer by clicking the link below:
The Grimm Legacy
And last but not least, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stopping by the library at on Saturday, December 8 at 10:30 AM!  Santa will be available to hear wish lists and photo ops!  Please bring your camera or phone to take pictures.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Free Children's eBooks

EBooks are everywhere. Many people have a Kindle or Nook, and of course, you can check out eBooks from Acorn for your eReader or tablet.  Another low-cost way to access eBooks for children is though the following sites:

Storyline Online
Famous actors read popular picture books aloud!  Notable reads include Harry the Dirty Dog read by Betty White and The Polar Express read by Lou Diamond Phillips.

Children's Books Online: The Rosetta Project
An amazing site that features historic children's books in several languages, including Spanish, Polish and Farsi.

Story Cove
This site features folktales from around the world.  A portion of the animated and read-along online titles are available for free.

Don't forget, a wide variety of children's picture and chapter eBooks and audio books are available though Acorn via Media on Demand!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver

Are looking to fill that The Hunger Games shaped void left in your life after you finished reading the series and watched the movie?  Look no further than the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver! The first book Delirium was released last year, and the second in the series Pandemonium just came out.  The novels are set in a dystopian version of the United States in which love is viewed as a disease, amor deleria nervosa, and the government has mandated that everyone must receive the procedure at age 18 to cure them, and save them from this dreaded condition.  The procedure is scary--sometimes it doesn't go well, and people can be left with devastating mental impairments, or die.  Outside the strictly controlled cities are the Wilds, where Invalids (people who are uncured) are rumored to live.  A few months before her scheduled procedure, Lena meets Alex, an Invalid, who has faked having the cure (a scar behind your ear is proof of the procedure) so he can live undetected in society.  Lena falls in love with Alex and is torn between the possibility of an uncertain future with him in the Wilds, leaving everything and everyone she knows and going against everything she has been taught from The Book of Shhh, and having the procedure, losing Alex and her ability to love.

I cannot go into much detail about the plot of Pandemonium without giving away the ending of Delirium, but I will say the second in the series is even better than the first!  It's very suspenseful and I am anxiously awaiting the next book Requiem, due out in 2013.

-Reviewed by Jen

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mr. and Mrs.Bunny--Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath.  
A hilarious book about bunny detectives who help Mildred, a 5th grader, find her parents who have been kidnapped by foxes.  You will be chuckling at the way the detectives go about solving the mystery, the marmot eats, the way the foxes talk and the girl reacts! 
-Reviewed by Janice

Let us know what you think of this adorably hilarious book!  If you like Mr. and Mrs.Bunny--Detectives Extraordinaire! you might like the following read-alikes:
The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
The Bunnicula Series by Deborah and James Howe

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book Review: Knucklehead : Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka

Jon Scieszka (pronounced shess-kuh) lets readers get several glimpses into his childhood in Flint, MI, growing up as the second oldest of 6 brothers in the 1960's through this autobiography.  As one would imagine the background of the man who penned The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the Caldecott honored The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Scieszka's formative years were full of mishaps, disgusting feats, pranks and broken collarbones.   Standout chapters include "Mom & Dad" in which the author describes how his prenatal nurse mother once took his Cub Scout Troop on a field trip to the hospital, and "Halloween" in which the author describes how due to their large family size, homemade costumes were out of the question, so each year they got by with a rotation of four basic costumes for 6 kids.  With its short chapter length, hilarious subject matter and snapshots of the author's childhood, this book is perfect for reluctant readers. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Picture Books

We are always getting new books and materials in, and currently we have a great batch of new picture books!  Stop in the library to check out some of the following titles. All are available at the library or through interlibrary loan.

Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea
Dinosaur has previously battled bedtime and the potty, and now he is back to take on the library! Dinosaur is challenged to use his inside roar during story time...will he be victorious?

 I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
A bear has lost his hat! He questions several animals in his search, and worries he will never see his hat again. Wait....he has seen his hat...

Don't Worry, Douglas! by David Melling
Hats are apparently the "it" accessory among bears! Douglas' dad has just given him a new woolly hat. Everyone, including Douglas, loves his new hat, but then something terrible happens. Douglas' friends try to help, but will they be able to return his nice hat to its original state? What will he tell his dad?

Introducing Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson
Larry is a peacock with a bit of an ego. He knows this book is fantastic by the mere fact that it features him! What he doesn't know yet is the book also features several of his friends. Will Larry be able to share the limelight?

Only Cows Allowed by Lynn Plourde
The cows want to keep all the other farm animals out of the barn. They tried their best (they even made legible signs!) but the sheep, horses, hens and pigs all move into the barn. Will the cows ever get some peace?

What's New at the Zoo? by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
The zoo is overcrowded. The (hatless) bear  is stepping on the kangaroo's pouch, the moose is stepping on the pelican's beak, and the pig is stepping on the porcupine's quills. As you can imagine, nobody is very comfy, and all the animals are chanting to be let out! A fun book, with lots of repetition and hilarious pictures.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
It all began when Floyd got his kite stuck in a tree. Then the trouble really began when he tried to knock his kite loose by throwing his shoe at it. His shoe gets stuck! Floyd diligently attempts to find the perfect solution that will get everything out of the tree and solve this problem once and for all. Will it be the orangutan who "surely has somewhere else to be," the whale who was "in the wrong place at the wrong time" or the array of other items Floyd tries?