Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First-Ever ARClub Meeting!

The first-ever meeting of ARClub was held today at the Bohemia Panera! We were a small group, but we were mighty! Check out the books we discussed below, and keep an eye out for them when they're published. Join us for our second meeting on Wednesday, March 29 @ SCLS at 10 am. Click here to register or email Patty. There will be refreshments and fun! At the bottom of this post is a picture showing ARCs currently available (you can also read and review your own). Email Darla to be sent a copy.

Derek from SCLS

5/02/17 from Crown Publishers
This debut novel tells the story of Lemonade Liberty Witt, who has been taught her whole life that you should try your hardest to take lemons and make lemonade -- in other words, make the best of things. But this is the biggest lemon that Lemonade has ever been given - her mother has died. She has now moved to Northern California to live with her grandfather Charlie, basically a stranger to her. This is also the town where the famous Bigfoot video was taken, so everyone is obsessed with it. Her grandfather even owns a Bigfoot souvenir shop. Everything at her grandfather’s house is different - he has the wrong soap, the wrong breafkast, everything. Her first day there, she meets a little boy, Tobin, the founder and leader of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. which he runs out of a garage to investigate local Bigfoot sightings. He stays at the grandfather’s house while his mom, a nurse, works. At first Lemonade and Tobin's personalities clash, but he takes her on as his assistant at the detective agency and they start to have a great time. Eventually we learn that Tobin’s father went to Vietnam where he became a POW and was thought to be dead, but one day they found out he was alive. When they went to meet him at the airport, he was gone - a double loss. Lemonade and Tobin's losses make them closer. The book is mainly about Lemonade dealing with the “volcano” of emotions inside of her. It’s about grief, finding your place in a new home, and finding family and friends during a hard time. Cute, funny, touching, and a tear-jerker. The author, who is a child psychologist by day, has a way of explaining Lemonade’s depression and anxiety that is real and relatable. Tobin is based on her son, who she lost when he was nine months old. This is her way of making her own lemonade out of her life’s lemons.

Four stars

Maeghan from Northport/Mastics-Moriches-Shirley

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
2/7/17 from Marvel Press
Maeghan got into this book because she’s already a big fan of Marvel's Squirrel Girl comics and wanted to see how it translated to the children’s novel form. She thinks it reads very true from the comics! Most of the book is told from Doreen’s (Squirrel Girl’s) point of view, with some switches. Doreen has just moved from California to an OK-sort of small suburb in New Jersey where a lot of juvenile vandalism like knocked over trash cans and graffiti is going on. The locals say it’s being carried out by the Skunk Gang, some kids from the next school over. Doreen was born with a squirrel tail that she’s always had to hide, but she loves it anyway and keeps it hidden under her clothes all day — which she gets made fun of for, but. The first person Doreen meets at the school is Anna Sophia, a Hispanic girl who is deaf. Anna Sophia is hesitant to be friends because she was burned by her last best friend who moved away and cut her off, but Doreen is enthusiastic about their friendship. As Doreen is coming into her powers (she has the proportional strength and speed of a squirrel - she can leap about 50 feet, run very fast, and is very strong), she discovers gathers groups of local kids who want to be “Squirrel Scouts” and help her, crossing clique lines. Everyone important in the story is a middle schooler, even the bad guys. Doreen has a great, humorous voice. All the chapters are in 3rd person, even Doreen’s, but there are footnotes throughout the entire book that are from Doreen’s first person perspective. The footnotes are goofy and add a lot from the story. There are appearances from other Marvel characters - she texts with some Avengers and some Guardians. 

4.5 stars

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Maeghan heard about this book from Nova Ren Suma’s talk at the YASD luncheon, and while she hasn't finished it yet, she wanted to give it a shout out for an awesome beginning. The story starts on Farah’s 12th birthday. Her and her Bangladeshi-American family have just moved from Queens to the Upper West Side, and she doesn’t really know anyone yet, AND she’s the only girl who wears a Hijab in her class, which they harass her about. Her only two friends at the party are her besties from her old school, with everyone else basically strangers and their nannies and families. Her family loves games of all types. Farah tries to drown out the party by playing marbles with her little brother, who has ADHD and is a bit of a spotlight lover, even on his big sister's birthday. Her aunt tells her she has a gift for her upstairs - it’s a game! She catches her brother about to open it, but she and her friends chase him away. They decide, let’s play the game before little bro gets everyone in trouble! The box, which is covered in beautiful etchings, has a heartbeat when they hold it and feels like it’s alive. Something surely exciting is going to happen with this game! A must-read for gamer kids and anyone who you think would like Jumanji. (rating to come!)

Darla from SCLS

Flying Lessons and Other Stories, edited by Ellen Oh
Published in January by Penguin Random House
Flying Lessons is a compilation of short stories written by a diverse array of superstar authors, compiled and edited by Ellen Oh, the founder of We Need Diverse Books. Not a note falls flat in this collection, which includes contributions from Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jaqueline Woodson, and newcomer Kelly J. Baptiste, the winner of a short story contest to be part of the book. Baptiste's story, "The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn," was a particular favorite. It tells the story of Isaiah, a little boy whose family has recently suffered the loss of his father. Much of the responsibility of caring for his 5 year old sister has fallen on his young shoulders as his mother grapples with crushing depression, but all that turmoil doesn't darken his his strong and lovable personality. One day Isaiah discovers the secret short story his father was writing about a boy who becomes a superhero whenever he eats his mom's rice and beans, and his mission becomes to find the time to enter it into a short story contest. But this is just one story among many that leave a lasting impression.
4.5 Stars, a must-buy.

Available ARCS:

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reading is Sweet at Riverhead Library!

Something sweet is happening at Riverhead Library this winter!

Melissa Fried, the new Children's Services Coordinator at Riverhead, along with her staff, has whipped up a treat for young readers - the "Reading is Sweet" winter reading club! The children's room was transformed into a real-life Candyland to inspire children to sink their teeth into some tasty reads. It worked -- they had 100 kids sign up for the club in 3 days! The theme was inspired by the reference department's "Food for Thought" theme, and the delicious decorations were concocted by library clerk Margie Santiago. Check it out below!

The club runs from January 9 to February 24.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The 2017 Mock Printz Wokshop

Yesterday, Wednesday, January 11th, the 2017 Mock Printz Workshop was held at the South Huntington Public Library. Over fifty librarians from both Nassau and Suffolk County came together to form one Long Island in the name of Young Adult Literary Excellence! The day began with a review of the purpose and criteria of the Michael L. Printz Award, and was then followed by incredible thoughtful introductions of the eight titles pictured above by librarians from both counties. They were as follows:

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz introduced by Jan from Longwood

The Lie Tree Frances Hardinge introduced by Donna from Nassau BOCES 

March: Book 3 by John Lewis introduced by Laura from Garden City

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina introduced by Natalie from Farmingdale

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys introduced by Janice from Manhasset

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley introduced by Derek from SCLS

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon introduced by Caitlin Sempowich from Cold Spring Harbor

The Serpent King Jeff Zentner introduced by Brian Schwartz from Patchogue-Medford

After the introductions were made two groups were formed for an hour and a half of discussions of the books and whether or not they were Printz worthy. These groups were courageously led by James from Huntington, Christine from Hampton Bays, and Sharon, Meghan, and Pam from Syosset.

Following the discussions voting commenced and the winner was announced!

The 2017 Mock Printz winner is...

along with our winner three honor books were named:

Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday's workshop especially Jen and the staff at South Huntington for hosting us, all the librarians who introduced titles, and of course our discussion leaders. Be sure to tune into the live stream of the Youth Media Awards Monday, January 23rd at 8AM to see who the real winners will be. You can go here for more information on the broadcast:

Friday, January 6, 2017

The 2017 Mock Newbery Discussion

On Thursday, January 5, 16 librarians gathered at SCLS for the 2017 Mock Newbery Discussion group - and there was more excitement than you might expect! More on that later. First, meet the candidates:

Our ten chosen titles were The Best Man by Richard Peck, Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm, Ghost by Jason Reynolds, The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz, Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee, Moo by Sharon Creech, Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, and Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk. Quite a lineup!

After coffee and snacks, we kicked off the day with introductions and defenses of each title from our bold volunteer Newbery Champions. Our group then made a circle to discuss the merits of each title, one at a time, for about seven minutes per title. About half-way through, chaos struck - the fire alarm went off! Everyone grabbed their things and we filed out on to the front lawn. I was making contingency plans in my head for whether or not we would be able to pick a winner - maybe an online poll? - when I turn around to see this:

 That's right. This intrepid group of librarians would not be stopped by evacuation, wind and weather! They made a circle in the parking lot and kept going. They even kept to the time schedule! I've never been so impressed. They got through a few more books in the parking lot before we got the OK to go into the other half of the building while the fire department checked out the half where the alarm had gone off. So we shuffled off into yet another room where, you guessed it, they kept going!

The group finished up the last few books and voted on makeshift ballots. While we were tallying, the OK was given to move back into the auditorium, so we completed our circular journey back where we started, and finished counting up the votes. In the end we had a runaway winner and two honor books. Drumroll please...

Our winner is the timeless and touching Pax by Sara Pennypacker! Pax dominated with 41 overall points as well as the majority of first-place votes. Our two honor books were The Wild Robot by Peter Brown and Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, with 36 and 32 points respectively. Congrats to our winners and our mock committee, and thank you all for dedicating your time and effort to this year's discussion! See you again in 2018!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Reviews: Galley Group - December 15th

Reviews of soon-to-be published reads by Galley Group*

Brian from Patchogue-Medford

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

Maeve is a bundle of nerves. She suffers from severe anxiety and always seems to imagine the worst possible situation. When she is forced to live with her father for the summer and his new wife, she immediately becomes upset. Her father is dealing with an alcohol issue, her stepmother wants to have her birth take place in her living room, and Maeve is dealing with her lesbianism. The character of Maeve is a very well written one with a lot of irrational thinking. As someone who has anxiety, I was able to relate to her completely and see how the mind can just start to race and think thoughts that one just shouldn't be thinking. Maeve does deal with a bevy of problems including death and feeling disconnected from her family. Overall, this was a good read that faltered a bit in the last third, hence the 3 star rating.
3 stars

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

In this teen novel, we meet the unforgettable Pen, a girl who looks like a boy. Pen lives with her parents who are very strict Portuguese immigrants. Her mother in particular is extremely spicy and doesn't like the fact that Pen isn't very feminine. Pen's brother Eddie gets in trouble, but she really looks up to him. Pen also hangs out with Colby, a real womanizer who spends his time looking for his next pursuit. When Colby sets his eyes on Blake, Pen doesn't want to help because she has a crush on her too. Will this romance really last? And will Colby, who is becoming more and more dark end up causing trouble for Pen? The plot of this book was somewhat predictable, but I truly felt invested in Pen and her storyline. She has an extremely strong voice and I really felt for her and her situation. This is a great addition in the LGBT lineup of teen lit.
4 stars

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

In this novel, Jared, an adult has discovered he has a brain tumor. He's hesitant to tell his wife, Deirdre, or his two daughters Jackie and Megan. He realizes he only has a short time to live. So he decides to auction whatever life he has left off to the highest bidder on Ebay to do what he will. What follows are a slew of minor characters who the author attempts to integrate into the plot; a bored billionaire, a nun, a gamer, a TV producer. They all factor into the plot eventually but this was the part of the book I liked the least. The author also chose to personify the brain tumor, which was an interesting choice, but I felt like it was a bit too hokey. I think I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more if the book had only been told from the one perspective of the oldest teen daughter instead of jumping around. Overall, I enjoyed this but was a bit bored by it at times, despite the emotional punch it attempted to pack.
3 stars

Jan from Longwood

The Infernal Guard Book 1: Emergence by S.G.H. Singh

What this does is pull Indian mythology into a story with tropes along the lines of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. It is a fantasy fully rooted in that culture. Our main character, Asha, lives with her grandparents in Miami. She is approached by a stranger who then tells her that she must go to India to fight an evil force. Although the story isn't brand new it is written in colloquial language that teens can relate to. This is great exposure to a different culture where they may not be a lot of representation in current YA lit.
3 stars

Darla from SCLS

Train I Ride by Paul Mosier

This is a fast but impactful middle grade/tween crossover novel. It tells the story of Rydr, a young girl whose already tenuous world is crumbling around her. Her mother died under circumstances that are mysterious to the reader when Rydr was younger, and she was sent to live with her Californian grandmother, who gave her the bare minimum in terms of love and care. Now she’s dead, too, and Rydr is being sent to live with an unknown great uncle in Chicago. As he’s her last surviving relative, if it doesn’t work out with him, she’s headed for the foster care system. Rydr’s anxiety is painfully real as readers follow her on to the train that will bring her to the great unknown of her future. Rydr finds unexpected family amongst the passengers on the train, and as she learns more about them she begins to understand the pain that lies within her as well. This unexpectedly touching hero’s journey is perfect for readers looking for a quick but poignant realistic fiction read. 
5 stars

Catherine from Hauppauge

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

The newest emotional read from Silvera is written in alternating chapters between now and back then: TODAY and HISTORY. It is a perfect way to tell this story. The reader sees an event and you then learn about how it came to be. Griffin, Theo, and Wade are best friends. Griffin and Theo come out to each other and start a relationship and Wade worries that he will be the third wheel. Theo moves to California and their relationship ends there especially when he meets someone else. While on the west coast Theo dies and so starts Griffin’s journey through grief.
4.9 stars (minus .1 for no tears)

*Galley Group is a group of young adult librarians that meet about every 6-8 weeks to discuss ARCs, or galleys, they have read in the interim. They discuss plot, age group, writing, audience, opinion, etc. The group was made to help with collection development and reader's advisory for our teen patrons. If you would like more information about Galley Group contact Derek!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

And the 2017 Suffolk Libraries Mock Caldecott Winner Is...

Today was a big day for beautiful books at SCLS, as 27 librarians convened to choose a Caldecott champion out of 15 deserving contenders. Our starting list was as follows:
  • The Airport Book, written and illustrated by Lisa Brown
  • Are We There Yet? written and illustrated by Dan Santat
  • City Shapes, written by Diane Murray and illustrated by Brian Collier
  • Flora and the Peacocks, illustrated by Molly Idle
  • Freedom in Congo Square, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
  • Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, written and illustrated by Kenard Pak
  • Jazz Day, written by Roxanne Orgill and illustrated by Frances Vallejo
  • Maybe Something Beautiful, written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
  • Return, illustrated by Aaron Becker
  • School's First Day of School, written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • The Sound of Silence, written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo
  • There is a Tribe of Kids, written and illustrated by Lane Smith
  • They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel
  • Thunder Boy, Jr., written by Sherman Alexei and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. 
Our books were chosen through an open recommendation process. In addition to the Caldecott terms, our only requirement was that there had to be at least 20 copies held in the county, which did rule out some current strong contenders buzzing around the kidlitosphere.

Derek introduces The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
We started the day with a series of presentations from willing volunteers who refreshed everyone's memories on the titles with brief introductions. We then held a lightning round of voting that knocked the field of contenders from 15 down to the following eight:
  • Flora and the Peacocks, illustrated by Molly Idle
  • Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, written and illustrated by Kenard Pak
  • Jazz Day, written by Roxanne Orgill and illustrated by Frances Vallejo
  • Maybe Something Beautiful, written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
  • The Sound of Silence, written by Katrina Goldsaito and illustrated by Julia Kuo
  • They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel
  • Thunder Boy, Jr., written by Sherman Alexei and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. 
Attendees then broke down into groups and had an hour to discuss the titles, after which they voted. We used Caldecott-style voting rules, minus the rule about the winner having to have an eight-point lead in the interest of time.

After tallying the votes, we had a tie in total points, with one of the tied titles receiving one more 1st place vote than the other. With the consensus of the group, we did a vote by show of hands to choose between the two. And our winner was...

Maybe Something Beautiful, illustrated by Rafael Lopez!

This delightful title warmed our hearts with its vibrant colors, lovable faces and full bleed illustrations that burst off the page with dancing motion and music. The book's diverse cast of characters and hopeful message of change through inclusive action and creativity paint a bright, hopeful picture. We hope that through Mira, young readers of our pick will see the beauty and potential in themselves and unleash their creativity to drive the darkness out of the corners of their world.

Image result for maybe something beautiful

Based on our final numbers, we also chose two honor winners: the very VERY close runner up, They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel and the etheareal The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas and Erin E. Stead.

Thank you to all who participated! I hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did, and go forth to spread the joy of our beautiful winners!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Nova's To Read List

On Thursday, December 1st YASD held their Annual Luncheon with guest speaker Nova Ren Suma. Nova is the YA author of 17 and Gone and The Walls Around Us among other well reviewed titles. She shared the adoration she has for librarians and the importance of our work. She professed that within the title The Walls Around Us there is a hidden love letter to librarians. One of the main characters, who is in a juvenile detention center, has a book cart she holds dear to her heart. These books are her window to the outside world and give her hope for the future. Nova ended her inspiring speech with a list of new books on her book cart that she feels are critical to the future. Here are the titles she shared!

1.  2.  3.  
4.  5. 6

1. Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen

Former librarian Kelly Jensen edits this collection of essays, stories, comics, and more that introduce the reader to what it means to be a feminist. Nova Ren Suma is in there!

2. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

College student Karuna Riazi writes the first release from Simon & Schuster's Salaam Reads imprint. Farah and her friends get sucked into a board game where they must solve puzzles to save her younger brother who is held captive inside.

3. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera 

After being punished by her parents, Margo must figure out a way to get her social stock back on the rise instead of being tarnished as she works off her bad deed in a Bronx deli.

4. When the Moon Was Hours by Anna Marie McLemore

In this tale of magical realism the love between Miel and transgender Sam blossoms much like the gorgeous roses on Miel's wrists. As their love blooms the four Bonner girls, the sly red haired sisters in town, believe the roses are the key to solving their romance woes, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get them.

5. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Fabiola has just emigrated to America and as she and her mother make their way through customs her mom is detained. Now she must navigate relationships with her extended family and the streets of Detroit by herself. All seems well until a Vodou spirit appears to throw her off course.

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Pulled right out of today's headlines this debut novel follows 16-year-old Starr after she is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her friend by a cop.