Tuesday, July 28, 2009
St. Martins Press
272p (3 1/2 hrs)
Mishna grew up in a poor black neighborhood in Seattle. Her parents divorced when she was young and she and her sister Anora were raised by her dad. Her mom left - she had to go find herself. But the weirdest thing about 2 girls being raised by a single, dad in the 'hood? Being white. "White, white, white, white, white, white, white, white. I think it's important to make this clear..." (1) And so begins one of the funniest, most heartbreaking, memoirs I've read in a long time.
I'm always skeptical of memoirs...but Mishna Wolff's story had me at hello.. .or was it when she said her dad "believed he a was a black man...It wasn't an identity crisis.." (1) Wolff tells the story of trying to fit in, and make friends and be cool. Learning how to "cap" on people (sassy putdowns) and deciding on her future: "Solid Gold Dancer, Capper, Anesthesiologist, Governor, Assasin". (32) She takes us throough her father's romances, usually with beautiful women and him trying to remodel the house, himself. Mostly leaving things undone. Meeting Zwena, who at 10 years old, was the "Julia Child of the food stamp set." (42) Zwena could cook up a mean fried, bologna sandwich. Ah...I remember those days...so much of what Mishna Wolff was describing reminded me of my childhood. I grew up in a poor, black neighborhood and she captured all the humor that helps you not only survive but thrive!
Once Mishna goes to IPP, she feels as if she doesn't fit in anywhere anymore. Always the outcast, the different one. Wolff tells us how she coped, what she did for attention, the tough decisions that seemed to be made for her... She worries herself into tension headaches trying to figure out what is going to happen to her the rest of her life...she was twelve at the time. Trying to find the security that she wasn't getting at home. Through it all, she just wanted her dad's acceptance, wanted him to think she was "down", too.
I loved this book. I put aside everything, I didn't even stop for dinner. I was mesmerized, completely and totally engrossed. Wolff's voice brought her story to life and I was right there, living my own version of trying to be down. It was painful towards the end but well worth the time. It left me with a Wow! It was truly awesome! I could read it again right now!
Mishna Wolff's website - check out the pic in the more down section.
Creative Loafing Review - I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
Citypaper Review - I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
PS: Although this memoir is marketed at adults - YAs could definitely read and understand and discuss it! I will be buying it for our library! Just gotta decide which teacher I'm going to hound to use it...:)
Also, I would like to thank Ben Rubinstein at Macmillan Library for tracking down a copy of this book and sending it to me!!!
Friday, July 24, 2009
1. Winners -
Karen won The Veil by Diane Noble
Cecelia won Tomorrow's Treasure by Linda Chaikin
Tashi won Eyes Like Stars ARC by Lisa Mantchev with bracelet/postcard
2. Bibliography - We had to do a programming bibliography for class and I was reminded of some great books I have:
The Guy-Friendly YA Library by Rollie James Welch
Center Stage: Library Programs That Inspire Middle School Patrons by Wilson and Leslie
Teen-Centered Book Club: Readers Into Leaders by Kunzel and Hardesty
Serving Young Teens and 'Tweens edited by Sheila B. Anderson
I don't do much programming outside of book clubs but I might try some other things this year.
3. Fire by Kristin Cashore- This was much better than Graceling. Cashore was a little preachy about sex and abortion so that changes the audience for this one. Kinda like Meyer with
4. Teen Bookstore - this my ultimate dream and I've been thinking about it lot more lately. I'd always looked at being a librarian as a stepping stone to owning a bookstore - now I can't actually see how I will get there. Why has my vision dimmed?
5. Diversity and Controversy - the twitterverse has been all abuzz with the controversy over the cover of Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Justine wrote a great article on Why My Protagonist's Arent White. Check out some of her other blog posts on this issue.
Even before this, Mitali Perkins had written an article for School Library Journal, Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotype in kid's books, that discussed what we see and what we read and how it affects us or how we think. She included 5 questions you should ask about any book.
Color Online also challenged us to actively make multicultural reading and reviewing a part of what we do, not a special activity. In her Color Me Brown post she says "I want teens of color to reject invisibility as a norm".
It's not just teens of color who do that. I do that. In my effort not to appear racist, I self-censor. I try NOT to promote books for and/or about people of color so that I don't offend anyone. What? What? I know, right. I narrow my reading which prolly makes me more narrow-minded. And if it makes me narrow-minded, what does it do to my students?
Jennifer Cervantes wrote Why Multicultural Literature Matters and really made me re-think the way I do things. I need to be more deliberate. Does this mean I'm only going to promote books by/about people of color. No. But I will more closely watch what I read.
I use the ALA Book Awards for some of my selection decisions. Take a look at the Newbery and Printz award winners, the Margaret Edwards award? There are very few multicultural titles and those we see are written by the same handful of authors. I also use SLJ, Booklist, and other review magazines - where are the starred reviews for multicultural literature?
I will say I'm excited about YALSA's 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium - Beyond Good Intentions: Diversity, Literature and Teens. Although it's in NM so I won't be going. But maybe I could submit a paper. Or maybe you could.
One thing is clear - just because we don't talk about it, doesn't mean it's ok. It's as if people were waiting for someone like Larbalestier to step up so that our voices could finally be heard. I'm not sure of the first blogger who noticed the cover issue, but I'm glad she spoke up. Maybe we can all start working on this and hopefully have at least one positive thing to say at the symposium.
As I'm new to librarianship and reading for selection - this may sound rambling. It is - but it's how I think things through. I'm making a decision to not be silent to be deliberate and seek out good writing by and for people of color. Maybe we need a Multicultural Review magazine? Not just once a year from the other lists - every month, major focus...hmmmm....
I know the first step for me will be to participate in the Diversity Roll Call.
What are your thoughts on these issues?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
by Elin Hilderbrand
This book was supplied by Hachette Book Groups. Read my review of the Castaways and then enter to win your own copy!
Rules: US Addresses only - to enter:
+1 - leave a comment with why you want to read this
+1 - Tell me your favorite book so far this year
That's it! Contest is open until July 27, 2009, 11:59 pm EST - good luck! Don't forget to include your email address! Winner will be posted on Friday, August 1, 2009 on the Friday Five.
Grand Central Publishing
278 pg (ARC)
Release - July 23, 2009
Taylor moves to LA to pursue her dream of making movies. She gets a job at a major studio and waits for her opportunity to move up in the ranks. While waiting she writes to her idol, a director who fell off the face of the earth because he didn't like the Hollywood politics. In the meantime, Taylor's immediate boss, Kylie, tries to keep her in her rightful place - assistant to the assistant, while Kylie sleeps her way to the top.
This book reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger except more focus on the assistant relationships instead of the boss. In my head I used the characters from the movie as I was reading. I'm not a fan of Zoey Dean's Talent series, it read too much like another series I don't like, the Clique series. So I was prepared to dislike this book. Imagine my surprise when I found myself entertained and captivated by this book. Taylor gets her Boss' daughter, Quinn, to help her get back at Kylie. Perfect - many teenaged girls know how to put the snark in any type of relationship. Now, the book gets predictable - you know the story - girl gets ahead by stepping on others, others step back on her and she gets behind, she suffers a little, everything is magically turned around and she still gets the guy. That said, it was still an enjoyable read. I recommend it to teens who enjoy Dean's other books or anyone looking for a light beach read. Also, I recommend it to those in a reading slump - it helps to read something you're not used to reading.
Hollywood is Like High School with Money on Facebook
Hollywood is Like High School with Money - Career Quiz
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Welcome to In My Mailbox! I received some great books through buying, begging and borrowing!
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - read my Review of When You Reach Me. Wonderful book!
Hate List by Jennifer Brown - From Little, Brown School via Facebook
Crazy/Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted - for Sept rvw from Houghton, Mifflin via NetGalley
Fang Face by Norm Cowie - for rvw from Echelon Press
Everything Sucks!: Losing My Mind and Finding Myeself in a High school Quest for Cool by Hanna Friedman - for 8/13 Blog Tour from TLC Blog Tours.
We did a book trade last week and I got
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbon by Ann Rinaldi
Getting Lost With Boys by Hailey Abbott
The Diamonds by Ted Michael
The Write Stuff by Jahnna N. Malcolm
From the library I picked up
Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French - Mock Newbery club
Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen Bernier-Grand - Mock Newbery club
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
When You Reach Me
Wendy Lamb Books
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Three of the 7 LA teachers showed up to discuss Wintergirls. Overall, we liked the book but we thought it might be too intense for most of our middle grade students. Two of us had read and enjoyed Speak and was expecting a similar sense of humor/sarcasm to run through Wintergirls and were disappointed in its bleakness. Although Elijah introduced a comic element to Wintergirls, it wasn't enough.
I hate eating
I love not-eating." 145
Monday, July 13, 2009
Welcome to this week's Contest Monday! I'm giving away
I am having a hard time keeping up with everything so I'm dubbing this week DEAR AndRew- Drop Everything And Read and Review Week! For every book I read, I will review it right away and complete an overdue review!
I'm going to read whatever I want this week - could be some library books, some old In My Mailbox books, books for Reading Challenges, or just a book that's been on my shelf for years! I only have ONE book that must be finished this week:
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (200/277) - for a teacher bookclub 7/14
Sunday, July 12, 2009
We all walked out with "new" books and the Chicas also received some swag from @LisaMantchev! They signed up to read @MichelleZink's Prophecy of the Sisters and can't wait to get together again!
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev - Word Ninja!
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink - Word Ninja!
Crash Into Me by Albert Borris - Interview with Betty Borris about the author's recovery!
Red Glass by Laura Resau - won in twitter contest from @RobinBrande
The Treasure Map of Boys (ARC) by E. Lockhart - companion title to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (ARC) - Word Ninja giveaway in August!
Intertwined by Gena Showalter (ARC) - Harlequin TEEN! I cut my first reading teeth on Harlequin!!!
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (ARC) - another Harlequin Teen debut!
The publishers were really awesome! I must give special shout-outs to Candlewick, Knopf, and Penguin Young Readers. The lady at Penguin saw my 13yo, The Amazing Dancer, and then presented her with THREE must reads! Candlewick overhead us talking and gave us two amazing books.Knopf gave us any ARC we wanted that she had on display. Thank you wonderful people!
The Amazing Dancer's books
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Hold Still by Nina Lacour
Gone from These Woods by Donny Seagraves
Murder at Midnight by AVI
William S. and the Great Escape by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
After by Amy Efaw
The Goodbye Season by Marian Hale
The Good Neighbors by Holly Black (signed)
In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith
Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness
Invisible Lines by Mary Amato (signed)
Strange Angels by Lilith St. Crow
Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (signed)
The Brain Lair's Books
Another Faust by Dina and Daniel Nayeri
The Mile Between by Mary E. Pearson
Front and Center by Caltherine Gilbert Murdock
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Powerless by Matthew Cody
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Island of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer
Invisible Lines by Mary Amato
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney
Geektastic by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander
Buck Fever by Cynthia Chapman Willis
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
Can you say WOW!?? And we were only there for a few hours. I just want to thank the wonderful writers and publisher reps we had the pleasure of meeting. You made a long trip well worth it!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Happy Friday! We have a few hours left so I figure, better late than never!
1. Winners - Congratulations to this week's book winners:
Andrea from The Little Bookworm - ghostgirl and ghostgirl: homecoming by Tonya Hurley
Nan from Nan's Corner of the Web - ghostgirl and ghostgirl: homecoming by Tonya Hurley
Carlene - The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul
These will be mailed out on Tuesday!
2. ALA - The Amazing Dancer and I are going to the exhibits at ALA tomorrow! We hope to see the following authors - Walter Dean Myers, Kadir Nelson, Kate Di Camillo, Neil Gaiman, Gitty Daneshavari, Judy Blume, Jacqueline Woodson and Cynthea Liu!
3. Anderson's Bookshop - Saturday night the Amazing Dancer and I hope to still be awake to go to Anderson's and meet Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson!
4. Game On - Not a good week. Nuff said.
5. Fresh Mixers - Healthy Choice has these new products called Fresh Mixers that I think will be awesome for work. I can never remember to make a good lunch but these look good and don't require refrigeration. You add water, microwave, drain, then add sauce. Add a side salad and a drink (preferably water) and you've got a fast and tasty meal!
As you can see, I got an early copy of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink! If you are looking for a good read - try it - Here's a review from Read Kiddo Read.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
ARGH! Taking a look at reviews I need to do, I realized how behind I am. So I'm going to make myself a little post and try to catch up. Each time I review a book, I will scratch it off the list! I may not make the review public if the book hasn't released yet, but I want to at least have all the reviews typed while everything is fresh in my mind!
- Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
- The Actor and The Housewife by Shannon Hale
- Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
- Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
- Bystander by James Preller
- Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
- Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
- Mr. Popper's Penguins by R. Atwater
- Lost and Found by Andrew Clements
- Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
- Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
- Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
- Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino
Death Run by Jack Higgins Wings by Jason Lethcoe Flightsend by Linda Newbery Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen Reality Check by Peter Abrahams The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley ghostgirl: homecoming by Tonya Hurley
UPDATE: I finished the first round of linkage. Work on reviews later, The Amazing Dancer is calling!
What My Daughter is Reading is hosted by Jill at The Well-Read Child. Each week you take a look at what the young uns are reading and get some ideas.
The Amazing Dancer blew through Austenland. She enjoyed it. We talked a little abou the guy who lived in the garden house but she didn't want to discuss it. Teenagers! You got take whatever conversation you can get.
Instead of waiting until next month, she decided to continue with her Everything Austen Challenge and start on Northanger Abbey. She's off to Fine Arts Camp this week so she's bringing this book and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Hopefully, we'll get more out of her next week!
Read an excerpt from The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.
Join Elin Hilderbrand's Nantucket Virtual Book Club for The Castaways!
Watch this video for A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand
Looking for a great recipe for a summer drink? Try The Castaways favorite drink, The Surfsider!
Take this fun quiz - Which Summer Cocktail Are You?
Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.
Check out the rest of the book tour!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
about this book - from Random house
Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.
But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.
Read An Excerpt of When You Reach Me.