Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read in 2017 So Far

27 Jun

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I specifically chose books that have either been published this year or will be published at some point this year. Some are fun reads, others are eye-openers and many are books that have stuck with me far longer than most. Pick up a title and enjoy!

  1. Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein
    A fun read, Mr. Lemoncello is back with a new board game – Fabulous Fact-Finding Frenzy and it’s up to the kids to gather the facts and help save Mr. Lemoncello’s good name.
  2. Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
    A sequel to, Sunny Side Up, Sunny is learning how to be around her older brother who is angry for being sent away to boarding camp, confused about middle school and her place in the family, but when a new neighbor moves in – it might be Sunny’s chance to finally take some control of her life.
  3. The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
    A graphic novel about a magical community where men become shapeshifters and women become witches, but what happens when Aster must show his magic – the magic he wasn’t supposed to learn?
  4. A List of Cages by Robin Roe
    Adam’s helping out the school guidance counselor when he runs into the foster brother he hasn’t seen in years. As he befriends the young boy, Adam realizes there’s more to the story than what he’s saying and it’s up to Adam to help him.
  5. The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
    Subhi was born in a refugee camp and knows little of the world outside, but when a young girl begins visiting on the other side of the camp, Subhi realizes there is so much more that the walls around her family.
  6. The Hate U Give by Ange Thomas
    Starr Carter balances between her prep school life and her life in the poor neighborhood where she was born, but when her best friend is shot and killed, Starr’s world is upended and it’s up to her to set things right.
  7. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
    Amina is a girl split between two cultures, delving into the world of middle school and trying to figure out who she is and what she believes in.
  8. The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
    Lolly’s brother was killed in a gang-related incident and Lolly’s trying his best to stay out of trouble in Harlem as he faces mountains of Lego bricks with no instructions, can his imagination save him?
  9. Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth A. Odhiambo
    Auma’s village is being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and she must make the difficult decision to pursue her education or go to work to support her family.
  10. The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea
    The pressure of standardized testing on the administration, staff, and students becomes too much for one class who takes acing the test to a new extreme – told in multiple perspectives, this story is about doing what is right when you’re sure it will get you into trouble.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/26/17

26 Jun

I’m so proud of myself – I was able to finish all three books on my list for this week and just started a fourth one! I was able to finish Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn and read Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt and  Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson. I also just cracked open Brightwood by Tania Unsworth which states that it’s the perfect book for fans of Doll Bones and from what I’ve read so far Serafina and the Black Cloak.

This upcoming week, I hope to be able to finish up Brightwood and then also read Refugee by Alan Gratz, author of Prisoner B–3087 due out at the end of July and The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick due out at the end of August. It’s amazing to me how much better I feel when I just spend time reading – I feel more centered and grounded and not quite like I’m treading water trying to keep myself afloat.  So I know, that if I’m feeling stressed out, I just need to give myself a little time with a great book to feel much calmer!


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

ALA Annual Conference (and what you can do when you’re stuck at home!)

24 Jun

This week Chicago hosts the ALA Annual Conference where librarians from across the country will come together for networking, continuing education and the chance to meet authors and illustrators while learning about upcoming new releases. And as much as I love traveling to the ALA Annual Conference sometimes it’s just not feasible. So what can you do if you’re #ALALeftBeind?

There are amazing continuing education opportunities that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to participate in.  Check out WebJunction – a website built specifically for library training including self-paced courses as well as webinars across a wide-range of topics that librarians face.

If you can’t make it to the Annual Conference, check out ALA Online Learning many of ALA’s divisions host online learning on a variety of topics that interest librarians in all fields.

You can also check out state associations and local chapters who often have day-long workshops or conference based around a specific topic. These are most often more affordable and easier to get to.

And don’t forget to check out universities who often have continuing education opportunities. I’ve taken a class from the School of Library & Information Studies through the University of Wisconsin-Madison which I really enjoyed and they have a number of online courses they offer each semester at a low cost.

So even if you can’t make it to the ALA Annual Conference, don’t despair – there are plenty of other places to go to continue your education. It’s also important to attend continuing education opportunities for the networking aspect. Although I’m an introvert, it’s always refreshing to be around other librarians where I can bounce ideas off them and talk about library issues without having explaining it – they just get it. And that’s what I like most about this career, I am continually learning something new and it’s amazing.

Power of Audiobooks

23 Jun

June is Audiobook month and Audible has some really powerful commercials promoting the (for a lack of a better phrase) the awesomeness of audiobooks. I love that a company (Amazon) is showing how great reading can be in all its formats. In one commercial they show a young woman listening to an audiobook (referencing The Girl on the Train) on a train, maybe commuting home from work. In another, an older gentleman sits in a diner alone listening to a science fiction audiobook while he eats dinner and as he peers into his coffee cup he can see a galaxy. And finally, a young woman running on the beach gets to a point in her audiobook where a storm comes in, the waves grow rough and the wind whips up.

I love how these commercials take a person and blur the lines between reality and fiction as their audiobooks bring the story to life. I don’t get a chance to listen to many audiobooks as I have a very short commute and often listen to podcasts when I travel further distances, but for people who listen to a lot of audiobooks – Audible is an awesome place to find anything and everything you’d want to listen to.

Don’t forget that if you’re quite ready to commit to paying for Audible, check your local library for audiobooks on CD, Playaways and audiobooks you can download from OverDrive and Hoopla!

Must Listen: Book Lover’s Podcasts

22 Jun

get-booked-logo-e1441883061578I love the Get Booked podcast – it’s a book recommendation podcast where people submit questions for reading suggestions for themselves, as gifts, for their book club, etc. and receive suggestions from the hosts and Book Riot contributors. 9 times out of 10, I know very well that I’ll never read the books they suggest, but I love hearing about them – it’s a great way to hear about books from a wide-variety of genres and the ladies who host are so fun!


artworks_mediumIf you’re a kid lit author or illustrator and like to drink (both alcoholic and non) this is the group for you. I’m neither an author or illustrator, but I enjoy this podcast just the same – it’s fun to listen to other people geek out as much as I do about kid lit! They talk writing, interview authors, and in general have a lot of fun together – which is awesome!


downloadThis is a podcast hosted by a 5th grade teacher focusing on middle grade books. She talks classroom shop – always looking for ways to connect middle grade students to books they’ll love. My favorite part of this podcast is when she offers up suggestions and the format she uses is great – a quick overview of the story and three reasons why she loves the book. She’s got some great ideas to encourage readers and reading habits!


The-Yarn-logo-500-300x300The Yarn is hosted by Colby Sharp and Travis Jonker and each season has had a little bit of a different focus – but it’s always enlightening with a focus on kid lit author interviews. The first season of the podcast the guys focused on looking at Matthew & Jennifer Holm’s book – Sunny Side Up from many different angles – book designer, author, illustrator, colorist, editor and more.


These are just a few of the podcasts I listen to and if you’re looking for some more great examples, check out Brightly’s article, Press Play: 8 of the Best Kids’ Lit Podcasts (and a Few for Grown-Ups Too)!


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