Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Whether you prefer your fiction to be realistic, romantic, a fantasy, or a mystery, there is something here to satisfy most every taste.  Clicking on a book cover will take you to the book in the Library's online catalog, where you may place a hold, and read reviews.  The descriptions for the award winners are from the catalog. 

Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley
Seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter's summer in Lily, Arkansas, is marked by his cousin's death by overdose, an alleged spotting of a woodpecker thought to be extinct, failed romances, and his younger brother's sudden disappearance. “Straightforward, yet increasingly complex, this novel masterfully weaves together themes of brotherhood, friendship, loss and religious obsession,” said Printz Award Committee Chair Erin Helmrich.
2012 Printz Award Honor Books:  This group of four runner ups includes: a murder mystery set in Australia; a carnivorous horse racing fantasy; a realistic humorous story about dating, souvenirs, and breaking up; and a war story set in a medieval fictional society.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, through judging committees, each year publishes a list of "Must Reads" in each of four award categories -- fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's/young adult literature -- that have been written by Massachusetts writers or are about Massachusetts. Then, in the Fall of each year they name a winner out of the "Must Reads" from each of the categories. The Massachusetts Center for the Book is the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. There is a State Center for the Book in all 50 states.
2011 Young Adult Massachusetts Book Award winner:
The Other Side of Dark, by Sarah Smith.  
Since losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Katie can see and talk to ghosts, which makes her a loner until fellow student Law sees her drawing of a historic house and together they seek a treasure rumored to be hidden there by illegal slave-traders. Set in Boston. Part ghost story, part romance, part historical mystery.
(I gave this book 4 stars after I read it last year. It's on the 8th grade Justice Unit bibliography.)

The other 2011 Young Adult "Must Reads" include: a dark fantasy about criminals with extra sensory powers; a realistic revenge/friendship story set in New Mexico; and a survival tale of 2 boys forced into a war in Burma. Bamboo People is also on the Justice Unit bibliography.

2012 Newbery Medal Winner:

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos.
In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, 12-year-old Jack spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with an unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.

Click on the link below to hear a funny interview with Jack Gantos about winning the Newbery Medal and about his life, which aired this past weekend on the NPR show, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!.
Find out more about Gantos and the story he tells on NPR in his autobiography :
Hole In My Life, by Jack Gantos, 2002.
The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Start your engines: 50 BOOK CHALLENGE & COMMUNITY READ

Did you make a resolution to read more in 2012?  Would you like a fun way to keep track of the books you read this year?  Announcing the 2012: 50 Book Challenge...there might possibly (maybe) be a prize or two at the end -- though reading is its own reward.  The Challenge begins January 16, 2012.
 click here to print your 50 book challenge reading log
As you turn the ignition on the 50 Book Challenge, you may want to consider reading the companion book for the Library's 2012 Community Read; a biography from the teen collection: Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston.  
Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment, by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, 1973.   This is a short, engaging biography about a young girl and her family that were sent to a Japanese internment camp in California during the 1940s.  Houston provides an opportunity to understand what it was like to live in the camp; coping with physical deprivations, and psychological difficulties within her family.  It tells the story of what happened before the family was forced to go to Manzanar, the years of living in the camp, and what happened after people were allowed to leave. Farewell lets one look in to a murky corner of American history.  I gave it 4 stars. Recommend!