Tag Archives: relationships

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten YA Book Recommendations For Empathy

15 Aug

empathy (1).png

It’s been a rough weekend of news and it’s heartbreaking that we live in a world where this type of thought and action still occur. So, now that we’re back to official Top Ten Tuesdays, I wanted to create a list that could teach, or at least, show students how other people live in the country (or mirror what other teens seen in their neighborhoods every day). There are so many more titles that could be on this list, but I wanted to provide a wide array of experiences that are far too commonplace today. These books may not be easy to read, but they are necessary and needed. I can guarantee they’ll rip your heart and stay with you for a long, long time.

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  2. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  3. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  4. Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
  5. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

  6. How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
  7. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

  8. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
  9. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Book Review: The Painting

9 Aug

33674139The Painting by Charis Cotter is a story of mystery and intrigue, but at its heart its the story of loss and relationships among family. Annie loves painting, drawing and art and is nothing at all like her parents who just can’t seem to understand their daughter. But, when Annie’s mother slips into a coma following a car accident, can Annie help save her?

Annie finds a painting of a lighthouse in the attic and with her artistic eye, is drawn to it right away, but when she falls through the painting and meets young Claire she gets more than she bargained for. Soon she is looking for other paintings by the mysterious Maisie King in order to help Claire understand her own mother, while at the same time trying to understand how Claire’s story is part of her own family’s history and what she can do to help her mother emerge from her coma.

I had a little difficulty following the storyline as each girl had a similar middle grade voice that made it difficult to differeniate, but I loved the mysterious travel through the paintings and really enjoyed how the story came together at the end as Annie learned more about her own family and the how the power of forgiveness saved her mother’s life. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you have a child in your life that likes a little suspense, mystery and is a little bit of an introvert and/or artist – this is the book for them!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Annie’s mother never talks about her childhood & when she falls into a coma, it’s up to Annie’s mysterious travel into paintings to save her

Title: The Painting
Author: Charis Cotter
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Page Number: 288 pgs.

Director’s 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!

The Nerdy Book Club

28 Oct

cropped-nerdy-banner.jpgI love seeing blog posts from The Nerdy Book Club – always insightful little tidbits from school teachers and librarians about books, kids and more.  Today’s post ponders the question “What are you reading?” and why such a simple question can open the doors to a full-fledged conversation with youngsters. As Christy Peterson points out, it is an open-ended question, rather than your typical, “Did you finish your reading?” “Do you like to read?” or the dreaded “What reading level are you?”

“What are your reading?” opens the doors for children to not only state what they’re reading, but also to expand on it as necessary, or to have the adult asking the question to ask more questions about the book.  Kids LOVE to share and when the adults in their lives truly listen and are excited about what kids are talking about, that is when a relationship can blossom. I am constantly asking the kids in the library what they’re reading and I do it with an aside where I say, “I’m looking for something new to read.” I can assure you that my TBR list is never ending, but by giving the kids the control to offer suggestions to me, the dynamic of our relationship changes and allows the kids to show off their knowledge and share their interests. I ask this question when I’m working the reference desk, when we’re waiting for other kids to arrive for a program, after our program when kids are milling around the library.

And when it comes down to it, isn’t that what we want kids to do – talk about what they’re reading? Encourage them to become lifelong readers by building their skills as children?


1 Nov


I very easily fell into the world of Cath, Wren, Levi and the rest of the characters in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Rowell created a very realistic world filled with characters with real life issues that many teens can relate to.  Cath and Wren’s mom left when they were very young and their father has some of his own issues that you learn more about as you enter their world.  They twins and best friends – even going to the same college together, until Wren decides to room with someone else, rather than Cath.  And that’s where it all begins – Cath feels lost at sea, slowly drowning without her sister to help her make friends and be her friend in the crazy world of a freshman college student.  You see, Cath is an introvert and fangirl of a book series (think “Harry Potter”) and writes fanfiction online where her stories and chapters get hundreds and thousands of hits a day, but in her daily life she is uncomfortable around people and feels completely lost.  But slowly, Cath begins meeting people, stretching out beyond her comfort zone, and learning more about herself than she ever thought she would.

I thought Rowell did an amazing job of creating three-dimensional characters that I really felt for, while also creating settings that were extremely real and could easily happen on any college campus across the country.  Rowell did an amazing job of not only creating the world for these characters, but also creating the fictional world that Cath “lives in” so frequently.  It was a main feature of the book and Rowell was able to create a strong enough world that I could picture this story within the other.  This book, although a little more adult that what I would give most of the kids I work with, is part of the “new” genre making waves in the literature community called “New Adult Fiction.”  New Adult Fiction is created with the intent of marketing to post-adolescents (think 18-30) and I think it totally hit that mark and did it surprising well with a lot of depth that makes you truly care about what happens to the characters.

For more about Rainbow Rowell and her work, check out her website!

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: 2013
Page Number: 448 pgs.

%d bloggers like this: