Sunday, June 27, 2010


Okay, okay....have many blonde friends in life, but even they can appreciate a good laugh now and again.  And you all know by now that I love me some library humor, right? 


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Tons of reading going on this summer, as usual.  I am always looking for books that I not only enjoy, but that I think my students will enjoy, as well.  One genre that I've loved since childhod is the fairy tale.  I suppose it is the mystery of magical beings and wishes come true that have always led me back to them.  I remember as a small kid I read and reread every fairy tale compilation that our public library owned.

The love of fairy tales has never left me, and while I do enjoy the 398.2 section of the library, I adore the new bunch of novelized fairy tales, Princess of Glass, among them. 

In this sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball (you don't have to read it first to totally get into this book), Jessica Day George spins a lovely retelling of the classic Cinderella story. 

Princess Poppy is sent on a political "royal exchange program" in a neighboring kingdom.  While there she meets a handsome young prince named Christian and a rather strange servant named Eleonora, and they all become intangled in a sinister magical plot by the evil godmother known as "The Corley". 

Filled with just the right amount of intrigue and romance, sprinkled with a liberl dose of magic, this book is a lovely read for those of you who also enjoy spending time in a world where wishes and magical dancing shoes really do exist. 

Read on, gentle readers; read on!

Monday, June 21, 2010

loose ends

Trying to finish up all my year-end library duties is not my most favorite task in the world.  In truth, by about mid-April I'm really ready to be fully into planning for next year--that's the fun stuff.  I try not to be aggravated about it; really I do, but there's just a little (okay, maybe not so little) part of me that wishes I could be like Samantha on Bewitched  and just wiggle my nose and be done with all the tasks that aren't at the top of my "Fun To Do" list.  Such as inventory.  And then the obligatory searching for all items that somehow got listed as missing, but are actually on the shelves (how DOES this keep happening?) 

My district no longer gives the librarians "extra" days to get these tasks accomplished, so I have been going up on Fridays and Saturdays (summer school the other days of the week going on in my library--we won't talk about that either) in order to tie up all these loose ends. 

We'll just keep it our secret that sometimes it is rather nice to have an entire room filled with quiet...the only noises are the ones I'm making and the soft beep of the scanner.  To have no one shouting "mama, I need..."  while the hubby takes care of the girls at home and I have a couple of hours of semi-blissful uninterrupted time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rules to Rock By

I just read Rules to Rock By by Josh Farrar.  Finished it about 5 minutes ago.  LOVED it.  As my friend (and rocker) Teresa would say, this book


What do I LOVE about this book?  Well, for one, it has a great set of characters.  Not only do I feel like I know Annabelle (know her and wanted to be her when I was that age) but the supporting characters are real and full and glorious and flawed, as well.

After her parents ripped Annabelle's life apart by leaving Brooklyn everything wonderful about Annabelle disappeared.  Her abuela?  Still in Brooklyn.  Her band?  Still in Brooklyn. 

You get the picture. 

Her folks are indie rock artists in the band Benny and Joon who move to Rhode Island so they can afford to finish their latest album.  Only they seem to forget that they've never actually raised their kids---Abuela has always been there to do the real work on the homefront.  Now that they are on their own, the kids are eating pancakes made by the band's drummer most nights and left to struggle through their first days at a new school in a new town all by themselves.  Annabelle is determined to put together a new band to live out her rocker dreams while dealing with a new crowd of kids at school--none of whom seem especially friendly, and taking care of her kid brother, X. 

Figuring out her rules to rock by takes some work, but Annabelle gets the job done and definitely leaves us wanting more.  A few of her rules:

*rock stars don't jog.  They strut.
*Rock stars dare to dream.

Rock stars don't cry , either (not much, anyhow) but I love, love, love this passage from the book and needed to share it with you all:

Abuela had always been big on getting tears out of your system.  She said you needed to cry to put out the fires in your life, and that when you stopped you could take a look at what had burned down, and what hadn't.  So I just cried for a minute or two.  Abuela was probably the only person in the world who I'd let see me like that.  I knew it wouldn't change the way she looked at me, so it did't matter.  I just cried it out.

Okay, great passage--not the most rockin' passage in the book, but man, did it ever speak to me.  Thanks, Abuelita, for the great advice!

Josh Farrar has an interesting website--go visit it at:

You can read more about the book, watch a great book trailer (he just calls it a video--but that's what it is) and believe it or not, listen to some great music played by actual teen musicians playing as The Bungles, Annabelle's band (We Used to be Friends is my fave.)

The book isn't officially out until later this month (June 22nd according to here to preorder)  but put this one on your "must read" list.  You can order the soundtrack, as well. 

And librarians looking for awesome middle school books for Teen Read Week--you've found one.  This year's theme Books with Beat @ your library, couldn't be more fitting!

I'll leave you with a pic of one of my own little rocker girls--notice the AC/DC onesie.  ;)

Read on, gentle readers; read on!

well then.

Feeling irritable today.  Perhaps its the loads of laundry yet to be folded and put away.  Or the millionth set of dishes yet to be washed.  Summer vacation is, in theory, an excellent thing.  This one just hasn't felt like vacation all that much, at least not yet. 

I've been doing a bit of planning for next year...trying to get my ducks in a row.  I've looked through LM_NET and TLC listserves and various and sundry blogs.  The world is filled with amazing ideas.  I mean, there are some really kickin' librarians out there doing incredible work.

It is as intimidating as it is inspiring. 

Man, I just wonder will I ever reach that point?  That point where I feel like yeah, I'm still learning, still growing and improving, but that I've pretty much made a positive mark on the planet? 

I suppose I do feel that way at times.  Perhaps just not when the laundry is calling incessantly.  ;)

Off to do more reading, reading, reading.  I LOVE being on the Lone Star committee--it is such an honor and a priviledge that I don't take for granted.  But, it is a ton of work as well. Thank goodness I love to read and I do it quickly!

More later-

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Payback Time

I was lucky enough to meet the fantastic Carl Deuker at TLA and pick up a copy of  this spring .  He is a thoroughly lovely individual.   So talented, yet so humble.  And do I ever admire the fact that he is able to find time to write his novels while still teaching 6th grade full time.  The man is an absolute wonder. 

I picked up an ARC for his newest work, Payback Time, and couldn't wait to read it---because to know Carl's work is to love Carl's work.  Payback Time is no exception, and may, in fact, be my new favorite of his. 

Daniel "Mitch" True is determined to be a famous reporter some day.  He wants to live in NYC and study at Columbia.  He wants to have his name known as a journalistic bigwig.  For now, though, Mitch is stuck at Abraham Lincoln High School in Seattle. 

After losing out on the editor's job of his school newspaper he realizes that perhaps head sports reporter isn't so bad.  After all, there is a chance of getting a byline in a real newspaper and kids mainly read the sports section of the school news anyhow.  Besides which...there is working with Kimi.  Kimi is the school's sports photographer, not to mention being both beautiful and brilliant.  Yeah, working with Kimi wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. 

While on assignment Mitch and Kimi begin to notice that something about the new kid on the football team just doesn't add up.  He has an amazing arm...when he thinks no one is looking.  He wants nothing to do with the rest of the team---or anyone else for that matter.  And so, the investigation begins.  What Mitch and Kimi uncover is unexpected and quite possibly dangerous for everyone involved.  You'll be amazed when....

Now, do I EVER give out all the goods on my book reviews?  Of course NOT.  I will include, however, for your reading pleasure,  a snippet I particularly like:

Once, when my dad and I were talking about college, he told me that I could major in anything I wanted as long as it wasn't philosophy.  "What's wrong with philosophy?" I asked.

"The logic part is useless," he said.  "People have never been and never will be logical."

 Now, go read the rest of it for yourself.  It comes out officially on September 6th and I can promise you it will take you on a thrilling ride filled with mystery and shocking secrets. 

And for me, hope.  Meeting Mr. Deuker really helped inspire me to find the time to write again.  This is something I struggle with, as it can be difficult to meld my dreams of writing with my real life time commitments.  I've heard so many authors talk about their amazing writing groups and how they structure their day and write for hours at a time.  That is great, except that I work full time (love my day job) and am a mom of two girls, a girl scout leader, a PTA board know, my life is already full of real life obligations that I love, but make it difficult to find time to write.  So, thank you, Mr. Deuker.  You have inspired this librarian to remember her dreams of writing are important, too. 

Read on, gentle readers; read on.
Mrs. S

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Literary Gifts

bas bleu (French) [bɑ blø]
[Fr., blue stocking; bas, stocking, bleu, blue.]
A literary woman; a bluestocking

My Bas Bleu catalog arrived in the mail yesterday!  If you've never experienced this lovely catalog you simply must, must, must subscribe, or if you prefer...check out their online catalog.

While I do shop online (quite often actually) nothing compares to thumbing through a catalog, steaming mug of tea (or ice cold Diet Dr. Pepper--whatever your pleasure) in hand leisurely reading the witty snippets about each item.  This company is delightful and I feel like a better, smarter, more literary version of myself just perusing their offerings. 

My wish list is a bit ridiculous at this point.  I had a short conversation with my darling husband, who is a bit, well...gifting challenged ...and mentioned that I marked several items I liked should he ever feel the need to purchase a small gift for me.  One can hope.  I have also marked several items that would make perfect gifts for friends and family members who shall remain nameless as *hopefully* they are reading this post.  ;)

I'd love to share a few of my favorite things with you all.  Although there are no raindrops on roses, nor whiskers on kittens, perhaps you might come away with a few brown paper packages tied up with strings.

With images and words from their website; Enjoy!

"It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" Board Game

#HG3312 $42.50

This is officially Bas Bleu’s favorite board game ever! The concept is simple: Your opponent reads you the first sentence(s) from a work of great literature—categories include children’s books, mysteries, nonfiction, novels, poetry, Shakespeare’s plays, and short stories—and you name the title and/or author. If you answer correctly, you get a cute little book token…collect eight and you win. The production value of “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” is top tier, from the wooden pawns and tokens to the “library card catalog” of clue cards. The difficulty of identifying the opening lines varies greatly, and we think giving clues makes the game more fun. For adults, two to four players or teams.

 (seriously, how awesome is that! although just between you and me I think I'd need to read the cards before playing the game--otherwise my lack of memorized knowledge could be a bit embarrassing)

Napoleon's Hemorrhoids: And Other Small Events That Changed History

Phil Mason
#UC9202 Hardcover, 253 pages; 2009 $22.95

This quirky collection of historical tidbits reveals how minor incidents can have momentous consequences. It’s a world of fascinating hypothetical contemplation. For example, what if the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna had accepted young Adolf Hitler’s application and he had become an artist or architect? And can you believe that heroin was created as a cold remedy and legally marketed as a wonder drug (starting a mass addiction in the process)? Sure to both amuse and amaze, Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids outlines all sorts of remarkably serendipitous—and disastrously unlucky—little occurrences that had big ramifications in the realms of politics, international relations, science, art, business, sports, and more. (CH)

(okay, so I'm a history buff as well...but the title alone makes me want to add this to my addiction, er...I mean collection of books)
Bag Ladies Novel Teas

#UC9842 $12.95

This handsomely packaged collection of twenty-five tea bags—with literary tags—invites you to “read ‘em and steep!” Each bag of tasty English Breakfast tea is adorned with a bookish quote from the likes of William Faulkner, C. S. Lewis, and Dr. Seuss. What a warm and witty way to add a little literary flair to every day! The box makes a great gift, too, for all your tea-sipping, book-loving friends.

(read 'em and steep...I love that!  See what I mean...witty!)

William and the Magic Ring: A Shadow Casting Bedtime Story

Laura Robinson
Illustrated by Laura Robinson and Suzanne Simson
#UC8412 Spiralbound, 32 pages; 1998 $19.95

Cuddle up tight for this one! You and your little one will have a delightfully spooky time with William and the Magic Ring. Just shine the powerful little flashlight (provided) on the laser-cut illustrations to cast cool spectral silhouettes on the bedroom wall. The eerie story, written in verse, is about facing your fears—but, rest assured, William inspires bravery and his adventure has a safe and happy ending! This gorgeously produced, enchantingly entertaining book really is a special treasure. For ages 4 and up. (CH)

(lovely, and I'm not altogether sure if I want it more for my daughter or for myself)
Be sure to check out this company. They have fabulous finds for literary friends of all ages. 
Read on, gentle readers; read on & shop. ;)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I am L-O-V-I-N' these summertime changes in my schedule.  It is fantabulous not to be rushing around like crazy each morning trying to get everyone ready for school (all in different buildings, mind you) and this more zen-like start to our day makes all the difference.

Well, for the most part. I mean, there are still plenty of blurry-eyed mornings when the baby decides that 6:00 is a perfectly acceptable time to greet the morning and I live on coffee, but I digress...

Now that I've had a full week off from school I feel refreshed enough to begin planning for next year's changes in earnest.  Giddiness ensues!

I love new beginnings and I suppose that is one reason that I love being a teacher-librarian so much.  At the end of every year I get to evaluate it, ponder and dream, and then make ch-ch-ch-changes for the year to come.  What deliciousness to be able to start fresh each August!

This will mark our third year doing the One Book, One School program and our new selection is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I really debated on whether or not to pick it just because as a former Lone Star title many of my kids have read it already.  Read it and LOVED it.  Read it and became FANATICAL followers of the series.  I took an impromptu survey of several kids I knew read it and they all basically foamed at the mouth with excitement over the thought of reading it as our school novel this year.  Well, all except the 8th graders--many of whom gave me  the stink eye since they are moving on to high school and won't be able to participate.  ;) 

And the change for the program? 

Well, other than the book itself we are not booking the fabu Mrs. Suzanne Collins to be a visiting author, as she doesn't do school visits.  Instead, we are "borrowing" an idea mentioned on the ever-so-amazing librarian list-serve LM_NET and hosting an actual HUNGER GAMES DAY!!!  I am beyond excited to make this happen! Rest assured pics & info will be posted.

Other changes in the air? 

One major change will be having a new principal on board.  I've only met him once, but I think he'll be fantastic.  And, as my retiring principal said to me in our end-of-year-evaluation conference--I plan on "getting ahold of him and indoctrinating him" in order to ensure that he understands what utter fabulousness a great library (and, ahem, librarian) can bring to the school. 

I will also be reworking the reference section.  You could also read that as "undoing" the reference section.  There simply isn't a need for it anymore and I have mounds of space that could be put to good use if those old tomes are put to pasture.  Some librarians have some guilt about weeding.  Not I, said the little red hen. :)

Going to attempt to rally the troops again this year to form a really strong League of Librarians (league of Just-us?...sorry, it's the Batgirl in me) to improve our collective mind.

Oh, and there's just so much more I have in store.  Including, apparently, being a poet.  ;)

More later,
always remember and never forget to read on, gentle readers; read on!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson

I've posted recently about the mounds of vampire fiction hitting the scene lately--not a complaint, mind you, just a fact.  I'm  at least a moderate fan of most of it---but my husband just can't stomach the thought of nice vampires.  We've had ---may I point out---ridiculous discussions on how that wouldn't happen "in real life".  Um, yeah, kidding.  I'm sure vampires wouldn't be particularly chummy in real life. 
Vampire Rising is a vampire book for boys (although girls will love it too) and I LOVE that we finally have one on the scene. 

Alex Van Helsing is a 14-year-old recently sent to boarding school in Switzerland.  Yeah, he's heard the stories related to his name his whole life, but he knows thats just fiction.  Right?  After a couple of very strange incounters with what could only be described as otherworldly opponents he begins to wonder.  He does, of course, find out that he is indeed a part of the legacy that the world thinks of as only fiction---he is a vampire hunter.

And these vampires aren't nice or vegan or friendly.  The action is kickin' and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I love the twist thrown in at the end, by the way; and the literary references make this librarian's heart sing. 

This is Jason Henderson's first novel for teens---and I'm happy to give big props to this Texas author for delivering a thrilling ride!  I look forward to the next installment.

You can check out more about Jason at:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

GaGa over Libraries

Summertime, and the living's easy...

well, maybe not easy, but I can at least access Youtube from home during the day since I'm not at school (love my job, just sayin') and find amazing videos to enjoy.  As I mentioned on my FB account yesterday I am a huge fan of library cheeze.  Yes, with a "z".  Here is a prime example, and I adore it. 

Add some GaGa to the Cheeze and you just really can't go wrong, can you? 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


the baby is napping her late afternoon nap (early evening?  whatev.) and I really SHOULD be cleaning house.  Seriously.

my world is kind of chaotic right now.

and has been for about 2 years.  Yes, I said 2 YEARS.  grad school while working full time, reading voraciously and attempting to maintain some family life will do that to you.  Add a new baby to the mix (born in the middle of my 15 day comps window, no less) and, well, you see why my life is chaos.

My house has lots of stash and dash leftovers that I meant to get to.  Really.
My car, too.

But, summertime is here, thank goodness, which means it is time for me to seriously clear out the clutter and get reorganized so I can regain my mojo. 

That's right,
chaos has eaten a bit of my mojo

I want to write, to create, to read, to scrapbook, to dig into my geneology, to play with my girls, to bake, to excercise (um, I like to eat what I bake!) and then there's just the necessary time to be.

to breathe deeply.
to feel peaceful serenity.

hard to do in my current state. 

Off to clear the chaos. 

Read on, gentle readers, read on!

image from:

The Bronte Sisters

found on Youtube--but created long before! I love this video--not only because I love the Bronte sisters, but also because it takes me back to the 70's toy commercials from my childhood. Sheer Genius!