Posted in Graphic Novels, professional development

YALSA announces Great Graphics Novels for Teens!

Diamond Comics’s Bookshelf email is a great resource for anyone who loves and/or works with graphic novels. This week, they reminded me that YALSA released their Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, along with a great graphic of the Top Ten. Clicking graphic will link you directly to the article on Diamond’s Bookshelf page.

I read six out of the top 10 this year, and 36 out of the total 125. This is a solid list; really happy with it. And now that I’m seeing the Wonder Twins is up here? Ridiculously excited; I just requested it and had to restrain myself from requesting about 25 more right off the bat. For the total list, click here, and consider signing up for Diamond’s emails, if you don’t already get them. You can visit the site here and see for yourself.

Posted in Humor, Non-Fiction, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Dear Fahrenheit 451: A Librarian’s Letters to Books

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, by Annie Spence, (Sept. 2017, Flatiron Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250106490

Recommended for readers 16+

Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the kind of book I wish I’d written. It’s the kind of book all book lovers kind of write in our mind, but Annie Spence is the one who took it and turned it into literary gold.

Librarians weed. It’s kind of our job. But book lovers (usually) weed, too, right? You stare at that overworked bookshelf, and you know that some of those books are visitors, whose time has come to go and visit other readers; some, like your Neil Gaiman books, your Doctor Who novels, and your Gail Carriger books, have permanent residency on those shelves. (Or is that just me?) You weed, talking to yourself as you go, letting the books – and yourself – down easy: “You were so much fun during my chick lit phase! But you know… I’m sure they’ll love you at the library, think of how many other people will love you.” Or, “Good lord, you’re still here?  You need to go; you don’t have to go to the trash, but you can’t stay here. Is Book Crossing still live?”

Annie Spence writes letters to books (and, in one story that got me a look on the bus when I seal-bark laughed out loud, a bookshelf) in her library, in her home, anywhere. She writes to Frog and Toad and tells them everything I wanted to say but never realized. She has an wonderful obsession with Jeffrey Eugenides (as a Neil Gaiman fangirl, I relate) and feels bad for a much-loved copy of The Goldfinch. Her essays are funny and touching and my friends are tired of me texting them, saying, “Wait, you have to read this part”; one friend finally texted back, “I’m requesting the book now, can you STOP?”

The second half of the book moves from her letters to brief essays – lists, really – that book lovers will adore: Excuses to Tell Your Friends So You Can Stay Home with Your Books (so guilty); Readin’ Nerdy (books about librarians, whoo hoo!); Blind Date: Good Books with Bad Covers (you know we all think it), and Recovery Reads: books to read after you’ve been traumatized by a previous book (looking at you, A Monster Calls).

While it isn’t a teen book, it’s easily crossed over. It’s a great book to hand to teens who may not “get” reading. This. THIS is why we read, I will tell them. (Do you hear me, Alex Awards Committee?) Dear Fahrenheit 451 is perfect for book lovers. Annie Spence is one of us. *group hug*

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

NatGeo’s Awesome 8 has the lists kids love!

awesome8Awesome 8: 50 Picture-Packed Top 8 Lists! (National Geographic Kids), by Jen Agresta & Sarah Wassner Flynn, (May 2016, National Geographic), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1426323379

Recommended for ages 7-12

I love lists. I make them, I read them, it’s just a fun thing that people do. It gives you some cool insight into people, like when you read lists of their favorite books, foods, or things; it can make short work of a project, when you have a list of best books or coolest science fair projects. Bottom line, lists are helpful and fun. NatGeo Kids has taken that idea and run with it, giving us Awesome 8: 50 Picture-Packed Top 8 Lists!

This book is loaded with lists of the wildest things, from the most hair-raising roller coasters (that new Joker one at Six Flags Great Adventure may have to be in an updated version, tho’) to the the most bodacious buried treasures. Lists cover wild nature, history, food, and fun. Plan a trip to see some ridiculous roadside attractions (there really is a giant ball of string) and travel in the wackiest of ways, like on a monster school bus. Fun facts pop up throughout the book, as do extended features on some of the lists, like the spread discussing how icebergs flip, following Eight Awesome Things in Antarctica.

It’s a NatGeo book, so you know the pictures are stunning and the information covers different cultures and different parts of the world.There’s a full index in the back and a companion website, the Awesome 8 Hub, where you can find more Awesome 8 lists and log into NatGeo’s Kids portal, which offers resources for educators and homework help resources.

flipped-iceberg-antarctica_88301_990x742Icebergs can flip! Who knew? (from

I’m a huge NatGeo Kids fan, with good reason: the kids embrace the books, which are fun, factual, and contain beautiful photographs of the world around us. Know a kid who loves cool stuff? Consider this book. Looking for a summer program to put together on the spot? Maybe a spot the camouflaged creature game – there’s an Awesome 8 list dedicated to Coolest Camouflage, including this picture of three toads – can you find them?

toadsphoto from