Book Review: The Land of Forgotten Girls

8 Dec

25685200.jpgI’ve been in a bit of a book slump for the past few months. A lot of it has to do with a new position at work sucking up all my time and brain power. That being said, I actually physically and mentally feel different if I’m not reading enough each week. I get much crabbier, more anxious and in general just don’t feel like myself. That being said, I’ve finally sat down this week to get in some reading and, boy has it felt good.

I picked up The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly for two reasons – (1) I saw it reviewed in an article on Brightly highlighting great middle grade reads of 2016 and (2) I was a sucker for the cover.  I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I’ll be the first to admit that I do, all the time. I was intrigued by the somewhat fairy tale-esque description, but also that it seemed as though it was based in a realistic storyline.

I read this book in just a few sitting and I loved it!  The story follows 12-year-old Soledad a Filipino immigrant who lives with her sister, Ming and stepmother in Louisiana.  Sol has had her fair share of heartache – her sister died in a drowning accident when she was very young, her mother passed away about a year later and although she immigrated to the U.S. with her father and stepmother, her father went back to the Philippines and never came back.  To say her stepmother is not a fan is to say the least.  Her words and actions are abusive and Sol feels that it’s her responsibility to look out for Ming.

What brings hope into this story is that Sol continues to learn and grow throughout the b0ok, she makes mistakes, she upsets people, but she’s always knows what’s right in the end.  Her rich imagination allows her to escape her everyday life but when she teaches her sister the power of her own imagination, will it do more harm than good? Ming believes the imaginary, world-traveling aunt will come save them from their evil stepmother, but what happens when she doesn’t?

The rich characters make this story come to life.  Sol, her best friend Manny, a new friend Caroline and a host of adults that Sol comes in contact with really make this story what it is. It’s a beautiful story about the power of your imagination and that sometimes you know less than you think you do.

Twitter Booktalk (14o characters or less): Filipino immigrant, Sol escapes reality with the help of her imagination, but maybe the real world holds more than she gives it credit for.

Title: The Land of Forgotten Girls
Author: Erin Entrada Kelly
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: 2016
Page Number: 299 pgs.

Library Director Thoughts – #4

7 Dec

I’ve been a library director for a total of almost 4 months!  There are days when I can tell you I have no idea what I’ve done, but I’m constantly busy and for the most part loving my new role. Our previous director, (I’ve been working for this library for the past 8.5 years) allowed us to try new programs and make many decisions based on what we saw were issues on the front lines.  He supported our new ideas and gave us all the credit when things went well.  He was in the role for 30+ years and in the last few years, didn’t spend much time out on the public floor.

Coming from a reference desk where I was always the go-to person for reference questions, reader’s advisory and tech questions in both children’s and adult departments, moving into an office in the staff area has been a huge adjustment.  It’s great to be fairly uninterrupted (I can get a lot of work done), but I also feel extremely disconnected from the community we serve.  So, a few days ago I sent a note to my departments heads making it very clear that if they were short-staffed on a desk anywhere in the library, that I was willing to jump in and help out where it was necessary.  I’m blessed with a large staff, so for the past eight years I’ve learned the ins and outs of children’s reference, but never got a lot of experience working circulation or in the adult department.  So starting in January (because December is nuts!) I’m going to be shadowing different staff members to better learn other areas of the library.  I’ve begun this process already – asking questions, observing what goes on and talking with staff members, but I want to be able to help patrons if I see them looking lost or needing some attention as I walk through the library.

There’s a fine line, I believe between micromanaging and having a clear understanding of how processes work and it’s definitely not my intention to micromanage, but I love to learn new things and as the director, I want to make sure I’m as educated as possible as to what happens in my library!

I already got the chance to work the adult reference desk for a couple hours yesterday.  I helped a gentleman print an insurance policy from his email and helped a woman put a few materials on hold (after figuring out which books in the series she had read and which she hadn’t).  I also troubleshooted (is that a word?) Overdrive on her phone for her so she could listen to books as she travels.  I love helping people and I just have to remember that even though I don’t have one-on-one interactions with patrons everyday, my staff does and it’s my job to make sure those interactions are positive and helpful!

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read For the First Time in 2016

6 Dec

top ten- new authors.pngSome of these authors are new to me because they’re new to the publishing world (and I can’t to read more!)

  1. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
  2. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
  3. A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
  4. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  5. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  6. The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers
  7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  9. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
  10. Mrs. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created byThe Broke and the Bookish

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/5/16

5 Dec

9969571After posting every day for Picture Book Month, I now have to come up with my own content again! At least today is easy, check out the hashtag #IMWAYR on Twitter to see what others are reading this week! I always end up adding a bunch of books to my TBR list on Monday.

Having a (not-so) new job has greatly hindered the amount of reading time I have.  I’ve never spent a lot of time reading at work unless it was prepping for a program, but learning the ins and outs of this new job has taken its toll on me.  I get home at night and I’m utterly exhausted (it doesn’t help that it’s pitch black when I get home either), so sadly reading hasn’t been a priority lately.  But, I finally got around to reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I borrowed this book from a friend back in August and I finally got around to reading it this past week – it was super nerdy and awesome! Granted, it would have probably been even more awesome if I was about 5 years older or had played video games in my youth, but even with those factors, I still really enjoyed it. This is one of those books you can give a gamer and almost guarantee they’ll love!

This upcoming week, I have a few days off (trying to use up my vacation days before the end of the year), so hopefully I’ll have a little more time to read! I’ve got The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly at the top of my TBR pile this week which I’m really excited to get into and I’ve placed a bunch of stuff on hold, we’ll see what shows up on my desk at work!


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

Weeding, Weeding and More Weeding

2 Dec

cyjycqaaqbajOur library is embarking on a massive weeding project over the course of the next few months.  Weeding has been done for many years, but without too much of a game plan in place and without specific guidelines written out for each section.  That is, until a reference librarian bought a copy of The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide by Rebecca Vnuk, published by ALA in 2015.  It’s one of those things that separates the real nerds from the poseurs… many on my staff are so excited about reading the book and are geeking over how easily its arranged and quick to read.

Using the handbook as a guide, we created our own weeding guidelines that work for our library and our community.  Space is at a premium right now and without getting rid of out-of-date, unwanted items, we have no space to add to the collection next year.  So, it’s been about a month, we’ve gotten our guidelines, I’ve met with our Board to educate them on what’s happening and we’re getting ready to start the whole process!  We’re also going to be taking an additional step and having a very large used booksale with many of the weeded items that people may want to purchase.  Our township wants our library to have some fundraising done over the course of the next year, so we trying a large booksale as our first fundraiser.

We currently have a shelf or two of books that we sell, but we’ve never done something on a larger scale.  Mostly due to space – we have none.  No room to store boxes upon boxes of books until our sale.  So, I’m giving up much of my office space – the only place in our library where there is actually room to store boxes until the big day.  I’m excited for what this means for our library – clean, neat shelves of materials our patrons want and need, removing smelly, tattered, out-of-date information and offering a new home to old favorites in our used booksale.  This is a HUGE project, but one that I’m so excited to work on over the next few months.  Wish us luck! (I’ll most likely be posting about our experience as we work our way through the entire collection)

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