Module 8: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

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Book Summary:

Mary knows nothing of life beyond the fence that surrounds her village except for the stories her mother told her as a child. But no one has ever seen the ocean or knows of any world but the one Mary lives. The world in which she feels trapped. But Mary believes in the ocean as fiercely as believes that there has to be a life beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth and the Unconsecrated that surrounds them constantly.  And it is with more unknown than known that Mary has to decide if she should risk it all to find her way through the fence and into the land of the living dead to what may exist beyond.

APA Reference of Book:

Ryan, Carrie. (2009). The forest of hands and teeth. New York, NY: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Impressions:

This book was not an easy read. I don’t mean that it was a bad book or that I had difficulty getting into it—trust me, it’s gripping from the get go—but post apocalyptic stories get under my skin and I have trouble removing myself from the horror. And believe me, my library had this book classified as a young adult horror story for a reason. There is a lot of death and violence in the story, but not a lot of gore. For me it was reminiscent of The Walking Dead and World War Z, with the exception being that the protagonist is a strong female. I do want to warn those readers that have to have a definite ending to a book, this may not be the one for you. I don’t mind a good ol’ decided for yourself kind of ending so I was not bothered, but I know that some people hate that so this is fair warning. All in all, I would recommend this book for someone wanting a scary zombie tale to read for Halloween.

Professional Review(s):

“…reminiscent of the paragon of the genre, George Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead…Ryan’s vision is bleak but not overly gory; her entry in the zombie canon stands out for how well she integrates romance with flesh-eating.”
Booklist

“Mary’s observant, careful narration pulls readers into a bleak but gripping story of survival and the endless capacity of humanity to persevere…Fresh and riveting.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“[T]he suspense that Ryan has created from the very first page on entices and tempts readers so that putting the book down is not an option.”
School Library Journal, Starred Review

(n.d.) Carrie Ryan: Young Adult Author. [Reviews of the book The forest of hands and teeth, by C. Ryan]. Retrieved from: http://www.carrieryan.com/forest-hands-teeth.php

Library Uses:

This would be a good addition to any reading group at Halloween time. It would also fit nicely in with books about distopian societies if you’re looking for a book that isn’t a classic.

Module 7: The Fault in Our Stars

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Book Summary:

Hazel Grace Lancaster is your very un-average 16-year-old girl. Home-schooled since the age of 13 her parents are desperate for her to get a life. But Hazel wonders what the point of getting a life is when you’re dying from cancer. Enter Augustus “Gus” Waters. Augustus is a former basketball star who lost his leg to bone cancer, so it’s a no brainer for her and Hazel to get together, right? Wrong. Because Hazel is determined to live as solitary a life as possible until she can no longer live at all.

APA Reference of Book:

Green, J. (2012). The fault in our stars. New York, NY: Penguin Group

Impressions:

I have been hearing about this book since it came out. My boyfriend got it almost the day it came out and really just gobbled it up. He and what seemed like friend after friend kept talking about it until the point where I even saw my former Baylor professors blogging about it. However, despite all this I kept resisting. They kept telling me how amazing it was, how I was guaranteed to love it, but what I kept trying to explain was not that I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it, I was afraid that I WOULD. So when I saw it on my reading list for my literature for youth class I knew my time had come, I could delay no longer. So I picked it up and started on the long journey that was John Green’s widely talked about new(ish) book. I have to say, it is worth the hype. It was everything I expected from a John Green novel, beautiful and honest and heartbreaking. As some of you may have noticed, I did a book trailer on this particular title back a few weeks ago.  The problem with that book trailer is that I could not possibly include all of the wonderful and quirky things about this book. I sifted through hundreds and hundreds of quotes trying to find one that summed it up just perfectly, and while I think I succeeded I just loved the book so much I wish I could have done more in my time limit. Alas, I couldn’t. But that is why I have chosen to do a review on it here because I really feel like this book is worth your time and energy. It’s not a happy book, but despite telling the story of several kids with cancer it can definitely make you laugh. But please, PLEASE make sure you read it in a safe place with a box of tissues. Don’t do like my dear friend Bethany who read it on a crowded airplane. Trust me.

Professional Review:

“If there’s a knock on John Green (and it’s more of a light tap considering he’s been recognized twice by the Printz committee) it’s that he keeps writing the same book: nerdy guy in unrequited love with impossibly gorgeous girl, add road trip. His fourth novel departs from that successful formula to even greater success: this is his best work yet. Narrator Hazel Grace Lancaster, 16, is (miraculously) alive thanks to an experimental drug that is keeping her thyroid cancer in check. In an effort to get her to have a life (she withdrew from school at 13), her parents insist she attend a support group at a local church, which Hazel characterizes in an older-than-her-years voice as a ‘rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness.’ Despite Hazel’s reluctant presence, it’s at the support group that she meets Augustus Waters, a former basketball player who has lost a leg to cancer. The connection is instant, and a (doomed) romance blossoms. There is a road trip—Augustus, whose greatest fear is not of death but that his life won’t amount to anything, uses his ‘Genie Foundation’ wish to take Hazel to Amsterdam to meet the author of her favorite book. Come to think of it, Augustus is pretty damn hot. So maybe there’s not a new formula at work so much as a gender swap. But this iteration is smart, witty, profoundly sad, and full of questions worth asking, even those like ‘Why me?’ that have no answer. Ages 14–up.”

(2012, January 16). [Review of the book The fault in our stars, by J. Green]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-525-47881-2

Library Uses:

A lot of this book revolves around a Make a Wish trip to the Netherlands, so I would use this as an opportunity to do a cultural lesson. I would do Dutch snacks like stroopwafel, gouda and sparkling cider (since they make a big deal out of drinking champagne in the book) and decorate using wooden shoes and the Dutch flag. I know this all sounds stereotypical, but I lived in the Netherlands, trust me.

Module 7: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

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Book Summary:

Lily and Dash each find themselves at home without parents for Christmas, but that’s about where the similarities in their situations end. Lily is upset, she feels abandoned by her parents who have left New York for Fiji and her brother who would rather snog his boyfriend than do Christmas activities with her. Dash, however, intentionally tricked his divorced parents into believing he’s with the other for the holidays. Lily’s brother, tired of Lily’s whining and moping, takes it upon himself to make her have some fun over the holiday. That’s where the book of dares come in. Lily’s brother plants a red Molskine notebook in a bookstore next to Lily’s favorite book just waiting to see who, if anyone, would be brave enough to accept the challenge it presents.  But lo and behold Lily’s favorite book happens to be Dash’s favorite book which is how he discovers it, cracks the notebook’s riddles, and answers its dare which leads him and Lily on a series of holiday adventures.

APA Reference of Book:

Cohn, R. & Levithan, D. (2010). Dash and Lily’s book of dares. New York, NY: Knoph.

Impressions:

I generally love anything that Rachel Cohn and David Levithan team up to write, so I was really excited to pick this book up. I have to say that I was not disappointed. If you liked Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (the book, not the movie) then I think you should absolutely gives this book a chance. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a Cohn and Levithan collaboration, basically they do no plotting of their book. Rachel writes the female’s part—in this case Lily’s—and David writes for the male character, Dash. The chapters alternate between the characters and therefore the authors. Neither author has any idea what the other one is planning to write until they receive that author’s chapter.  Needless to say, this too and fro between the authors can really make for a fun book. I feel like you can just tell that the authors are enjoying themselves when they write so in makes the books feel fun as well. That being said, it also allows for each of the characters to genuinely feel different from one another. Side note: I don’t know about any of you, but I really hate it when a male author writes a female character that just seems stereotypically girly or a female author writes about her very manly main character knowing that his girlfriend has Ralph Lauren sheets. Some men may intuitively know that the bed linens are designer, but I am willing to bet that not many actually do or care, which is a very round about way of saying that Cohn and Levithan help alleviate any of this by co-authoring their work.

Professional Review:

“Cohn and Levithan use a familiar but fun formula for this holiday-themed collaboration—think Saint Nick & Norah—mixing an enticing premise with offbeat characters and some introspective soul searching. Two New York City teens left alone for Christmas ‘meet’ when Dash discovers Lily’s cryptic notebook wedged between J.D. Salinger books at the Strand. Its clues lead him on a treasure hunt through the bookstore; he responds with his own clues, and soon they are using the notebook to send each other on adventures across the city and to trade their ‘innermost feelings and thoughts.’ Fans will enjoy the zingy descriptions and characterizations that populate this Big Apple romp (at one point, Dash must reach inside the coat of the Macy’s Santa to retrieve Lily’s message; later, he sends her to go see a ‘gay Jewish dancepop/indie/punk band called Silly Rabbi, Tricks Are for Yids’). Readers will be ready for the real romance to start long before the inevitable conclusion, but as with this duo’s past books, there are more than enough amusing turns of phrase and zigzag plot twists to keep their attention. Ages 12–up.”

(2010, October 4). [Review of the book Dash and Lily’s book of dares, by R. Cohn & D. Levithan]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-375-86659-3

Library Uses:

Since a lot of the interactions between Dash and Lily come through their notebook and their elaborate scavenger hunt to pass it back and forth each time, I would use this book as a premise for a scavenger hunt for the young adult readers in the library. It could either be a one night event in which they solve puzzles and do dares to get clues or it could be a more drawn out scavenger hunt that takes place over a couple of weeks.

Module 6: Ginger and Petunia

Ginger and Petunia

Book Summary:

Virgina “Ginger” Folsum is a classy, impeccably dressed woman who loves nothing more than her pet pig Petunia. When Ginger is called away from her home, Petunia and her piano students she frets about being away. But Ginger manages to arrange for a pet sitter to take care of things and cancel her engagements. Unfortunately, Ginger is already gone when the sitter calls to cancel. Petunia is worried, but she decides that she is an independent pig and that she can take care of it by herself. So Petunia gets all dolled up in Ginger’s clothes and makeup and gives her piano students their lessons, does the grocery shopping and attends Ginger’s social engagements. What can possibly go wrong?

APA Reference of Book:

Polacco, P. (2007). Ginger and Petunia. New York, NY: Philomer.

Impressions:

I have a hard time not loving a book in which a pig makes her own dinner, drinks wine, dresses up in a ball gown and dances the night away while her owner is out of town.  I saw the bright and fanciful cover and just couldn’t help but pick it up. The story was on the long side, but I thought it was a lot of fun. The illustrations however were really the highlight for me. I think that kids of all ages can enjoy this beautifully illustrated tale of a pig in woman’s clothing. Or maybe that’s just because I have always dreamed of having a pet pig. Either way, I highly recommend this fanciful story for everyone who needs a smile.

Professional Review:

“Droll text and playfully hyperbolic art serve up a piggish portion of humor in Polacco’s (The Graves Family ) tale starring a porcine pet with plenty of personality. Petunia’s owner, a “brilliant pianist” who teaches musical prodigies, lives in a “scrumptious home” and wears delightfully flamboyant outfits. Elegant Ginger showers oodles of affection on Petunia, for whom she has installed a mud hole in the backyard, topped by a gazebo to make it “look like a spa.” When Ginger is invited to be a guest soloist in London, the sitter she hires to tend to her pampered pet is a no-show, but Petunia takes care of herself—and then some. Disguised in Ginger’s eccentric ensembles (which would turn Miss Piggy green with envy), Petunia presides over the prodigies’ piano lessons. An inspired spread depicts the porcine impersonator striking the very poses Ginger assumed in an early group of vignettes. Though she wreaks comic havoc as a socialite, Petunia can do no wrong. She knocks over and shatters a statue in an art museum, and reveals it to be a forgery made of plaster rather than marble. At a dinner the mayor then throws in her honor, she ignores her silverware, slurps soup from a bowl and burps loudly, inspiring her admiring fellow diners do the same. In her pièce de resistance, Petunia, esteemed guest at the governor’s ball, dances her host right into a huge vat of chocolate mousse (“It looked just like mud!”) and everyone “that was anyone” follows suit. Polacco’s porcine protagonist will also endear herself to readers, who will happily wallow in this lighthearted caper.”

(2007, April 9). [Review of the book Ginger and Petunia, by P. Polacco]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-399-24539-8.

Library Uses:

This would be a great book to use for a story time. I would read the book and then ask the kids to dress up a picture of a pig. I would give them colored paper, pipe cleaners, pom poms and other art stuff to let them dress Petunia in Ginger’s finest clothes.

Module 5: Looking for Alaska

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Summary:

The winner of the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, Looking for Alaska tells the story of Miles, an 11th grade student who transferred to boarding school in Alabama where he learns a lot about drinking, smoking, love and loss. Miles, a sixteen-year-old with an obsession for famous last words, can’t help but fall for Alaska, the tragically beautiful girl down the hall. In his desire to explore what Francois Rabelais called “the Great Perhaps,” Miles, Alaska and his roommate Chip break all the rules while pulling pranks, smoking on campus and late-night drinking. With chapter titles made up of day counts from before and after, the book is full of foreshadowing that pulls the reader-in to find out more.

Reference:

Green, J. (2005). Looking for Alaska. New York, NY: Dutton.

Impressions:

I have heard a lot about this novel over the years that left my curiosity peaked. I found the story to be very eloquent and enjoyed it a lot. This award-winning novel is definitely one of those angst ridden coming of age pieces that you either relate to or not. While I think I would have been more moved by it had I still been in my teen years, I still really liked it. I thought the character Alaska was a little stereotypical in her ability to drink the boys under the table and still be the most wanted girl on campus, but maybe that’s because I have read so much young adult literature. All in all, I give it my recommendation.

Professional Review:

“This ambitious first novel introduces 16-year-old Miles Halter, whose hobby is memorizing famous people’s last words. When he chucks his boring existence in Florida to begin this chronicle of his first year at an Alabama boarding school, he recalls the poet Rabelais on his deathbed who said, ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps.’ Miles’s roommate, the ‘Colonel,’ has an interest in drinking and elaborate pranks—pursuits shared by his best friend, Alaska, a bookworm who is also ‘the hottest girl in all of human history.’ Alaska has a boyfriend at Vanderbilt, but Miles falls in love with her anyway. Other than her occasional hollow, feminist diatribes, Alaska is mostly male fantasy—a curvy babe who loves sex and can drink guys under the table. Readers may pick up on clues that she is also doomed. Green replaces conventional chapter headings with a foreboding countdown—‘ninety-eight days before,’ ‘fifty days before’—and Alaska foreshadows her own death twice (‘I may die young,’ she says, ‘but at least I’ll die smart’). After Alaska drives drunk and plows into a police car, Miles and the Colonel puzzle over whether or not she killed herself. Theological questions from their religion class add some introspective gloss. But the novel’s chief appeal lies in Miles’s well-articulated lust and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time. Readers will only hope that this is not the last word from this promising new author. Ages 14-up.”

(2005, February 7). [Review of the book Looking for Alaska, by J. Green]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-525-47506-4.

Library Uses:

With John Green’s increasing popularity and the filming of the movie based on The Fault in Our Stars I think it would be appropriate to use this book as a part of a John Green book display in the young adult area.

Book Trailers

I wanted to share with you guys a few book trailers I created for one of my MLIS classes. Since this blog is all about my mission to become a librarian I thought you might be interested in checking them out. Hope you like them! If your interested, I used animoto.com to create all of the videos, you should check it out!

Sources:

Asher, J. (2007). Thirteen reasons why. New York, NY: Razorbill.

Lawless, C. (Photographer). (2008). Untitled [Photograph], Retrieved October 1, 2013, from: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-2362860905

Sources:

Green, J. (2012). The fault in our stars. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Sources:

Cohn, R. & Levithan, D. (2011). Dash and Lily’s book of dares. New York, NY: Random House Children’s Books.

Lee, S. (Photographer). (2010). The Colorful Library of an Interaction Designer [Photograph], Retrieved October 1, 2013, from: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-4556156477

Lagman, M. A. (Photographer). (2013). Untitled [Photograph], Retrieved October 2, 2013, from: http://pixabay.com/en/notebook-pen-write-note-book-173010/

Disclaimer:

I in no way own any of the materials used in the making of this trailer. I tried to use all copyright free materials and used the book cover as fair use.