Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Traditions

This morning, The Today Show posted an article on their website featuring New Year traditions around the world.

Did you know that in Scheveningen, Netherlands, on Jan. 1, brave Dutch swimmers head into the icy North Sea? Bernarr Macfadden, who founded the Coney Island Polar Bear Club in 1903, believed that "a dip in the ocean during the winter can be a boon to one's stamina, virility and immunity."

People in Urnaesch, Switzerland, celebrate with "Silvesterchlaus" (New Years Claus) people equipped with branches of pine trees and cow bells who walk toward a farm house in to offer their best wishes for the new year. After they sing and dance the Silvesterchlaeuse receive food, hot drinks, or money. It is believed that a visit by the Silvesterchlaeuse helps drive away evil spirits.

What do you do to ring in the new year?

It's popular to make New Year's Resolutions, to try to (resolve to!) improve something you've always wanted to improve about yourself. What are your new year's resolutions for 2013? Whatever they are, we've got the books to help you out:

Get more exercise:

CosmoGIRL! Total Body Workout: Fun Moves to Look and Feel Your Best from the editors of CosmoGIRL!

Toning for Teens: The 20-Minute Workout that Makes You Look Good and Feel Great! by Joyce L. Vedral

Yoga for Teens: How to Improve Your Fitness, Confidence, Appearance, and Health-- and Have Fun Doing It by Thia Luby

101 Ways to Get in Shape by Charlotte Guillain

Take better care of the Earth:

Recycle: Green Science Projects for a Sustainable Planet by Robert Gardner

Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children's Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green edited by Dan Gutman

Make It!: Don't Throw It Away- Create Something Amazing! by Jane Bull

365 Ways to Live Green for Kids: Saving the Enviornment at Home, School, or at Play--Every Day! by Sheri Amsel

Recycling: Learning the Four R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover by Martin J. Gutnik

Get better grades:

Study Smart, Study Less: Earn Better Grades and Higher Test Scores, Learn Study Habits That Get Fast Results, and Discover Your Study Persona by Anne Crossma

How to be School Smart: Super Study Skills by Elizabeth James and Carol Barkin

School Power: Study Skill Strategies for Succeeding in School by Jeanne Shay Schumm

Study Smart: Hands-On, Nuts-and-Bolts Techniques for Earning Higher Grades by Theodore Silver

Eat healthier: 

The Scoop on What To Eat: What You Should Know About Diet and Nutrition by Kathlyn Gay

Too Fat? Too Thin?: The Healthy Eating Handbook by Melissa Sayer

The Mayo Clinic Kids' Cookbook: 50 Favorite Recipes for Fun and Healthy Eating

Body Fuel: A Guide to Good Nutrition by Donna Shryer

Food for Feeling Healthy by Carol Ballard

Are resolutions part of your New Year traditions?

Be sure to take a look at the rest of the Today Show's photo set on New Year Traditions around the world to see what people in other countries do to ring in their year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Very Alternative Christmas Carol

We all know the story of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: The mean and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come and is then transformed into a kind and generous man.

While A Christmas Carol was originally published in 1843, it's still popular and even still in print today! In fact, it's been adapted and readapted so many times that now, we probably have a least a hundred different versions of it. So why stick with the origianal A Christmas Carol? Spice it up and try one of these alternative versions this year:

For Kids:

Barbie in a Christmas Carol by Mary Man-Kong

The Animals' Christmas Carol by Helen Ward

Karen's Christmas Carol by Ann M. Martin

Dora's Christmas Carol adapted by Christine Ricci

Mr. Men A Christmas Carol originated by Roger Hargreaves

For Teens:

Batman: Noël story and art by Lee Bermejo

A Zombies Christmas Carol: In Sequential Art: Being an Undead Story of Christmas adapted by Jim McCann (pencils), David Baldeon and Jeremy Treece (inks), Jordi Tarragona and Roger Bonet (colors), Ferran Daniel and Jorge Gonzalez (letters), and Jeff Eckleberry

A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel script adaptation by Sean Michael Wilson, American English adaptation by Keith Howell, Mike Collins (pencils), David Roach (inks), James Offredi (coloring), Terry Wiley (letting), Jo Wheeler and Jenny Placentino (design and layout), and Clive Bryant (editor in cheif).

Happy reading and happy holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Season

It's officially the 3rd day of Hanukkah, 2 weeks away from Christmas Eve, and 3 weeks away from New Year's Eve! Are you throwing a Holiday or New Year's Eve Party this year?

Here are some books to help you plan your fun evening:

Great Parties for Kids: Fabulous and Creative Ideas for Children Aged 0-10 by Rose Hammick

FamilyFun Birthday Cakes: 50 Cute & Easy Party Treats edited by Deanna F. Cook and the experts at FamilyFun magazine

Child Magazine's Book of Children's Parties by Angela Wilkes

Have a great holiday season!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The 2013 Morris Award Finalists

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) has selected five books as finalists for the 2013 William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. YALSA will name the actual winner at the Youth Media Awards on January 28.

And now...without further adieu, the 2013 finalists are...

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Have you read any of the finalists? If not, be sure to place one on reserve by clicking the links above!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Year of the Jungle

Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games series has a new book due September 10, 2013! This time she's going for a younger target audience--ages 4 and up! It's a picture book called Year of the Jungle and, according to this Entertainment Weekly article, it is autobiographical.

The book is illustrated by James Proimos, and follows Suzy's struggle to deal with her father's absence as he serves in Vietnam. She counts down the days until her father’s return, and when he finally comes back, Suzy finds that the war has changed him but he loves her all the same.

On her inspiration for the book, Suzanne Collins says:

"For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story. It has elements that can be scary for the audience and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those. It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book. Then one day I was having lunch with Jim and telling him about the idea and he said, ‘That sounds fantastic.’ I looked at him and I had this flash of the story through his eyes, with his art. It was like being handed a key to a locked door. So, I just blurted out, ‘Do you want to do it?’ Fortunately he said yes. That afternoon, on the train ride home, the book started unfolding in my head. There’s a natural humor and sense of fun to his drawing style that makes the story approachable. As the emotional life of the main character evolves into darker places, the pictures beautifully keep pace with it, but they never lose that Proimos quality. His art made telling the story possible."

Click here to read the full article in Entertainment Weekly.

How exciting!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Goodbye to NaNoWriMo

Happy November 30th and congratulations to everyone who passed the 50,000-word mark today (or earlier)! Have any of you finished your novels this year? If so, how did they come out? And how do you feel about finally being done?

If you're searching for something to do with your manuscript and your new-found free time, Writer's Relief has an article that goes over the next steps needed to publish your work. There are four steps:

1. Take a break.
2. Use your break to do some research and prepare for revisions!
3. Roll up your sleeves and revise, revise, revise.
4. Be patient but determined when trying to get your work published.

Writer's Relief reminds us that the process of getting published "takes longer than one month, or even one year. There is no shortcut if you want to get paid up front for your writing by a traditional publisher."

For more about writing, editing, and publishing try one or more of these books:

So, You Want to Be a Writer?: How to Write, Get Published, and Maybe Even Make it Big! by Vicki Hambleton & Cathleen Greenwood.

Writing and Publishing: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Tina P. Schwartz

A Teen's Guide to Getting Published: Publishing for Profit, Recognition, and Academic Success by Jessica Dunn & Danielle Dunn

To Be A Writer: A Guide For Young People Who Want to Write and Publish by Barbara Seuling

Congratulations, writers! Now it's time to relax!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A big day for author birthdays!

Today is a big day for author birthdays! Three very famous children's writers were born on various November 29ths throughout history-- Louisa May Alcott (1832), C.S. Lewis (1898), and Madeleine L'Engle (1918). Those are some big names!

Why not check out a book by one of those big names? Here four by each author to get you started:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

The Chronicals of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle

...or stop by the library for lots more recommendations.

Happy November 29th!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars Movie Update

Hey The Fault In Our Stars fans! Remember the talk of a movie adaptation a few months ago?

This Hypable article, contains a video of an interview with Wyck Godfrey (the producer of the film, who's also responsible for the Twilight movies) who says in it, “It is the best book, it makes you rip your guts out, it makes you want to go out and live a better life. I love it, I can’t wait to make it” and “I’m producing it, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who wrote 500 Days of Summer, wrote the script – it’s brilliant. I’m getting ready to hire a director, we’ve got all the actresses you would ever want to be in it, want to play Hazel Grace. So I’m excited about that.”

This is big news! Looks like it's really happening! Yay! Be sure to read the full article here!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo! I almost forgot!

Today is the halfway point for those of you currently participating in National Novel Writing Month!

Because life is a little too crazy already this year, I have taken 2012 off from NaNoWriMo for the first time since 2005. While I am certainly a little upset about it, as a long-time participant, I'm still happy to be celebrating the novel-frenzy fun with any of you who are writing a novel this month.

For those not in the know, National Novel Writing Month is a "fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing." The goal is to write a 50,000-word (or longer) novel by 11:59:59pm on November 30.

"Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." In November, you have permission to do a bad job and write only for the sake of finishing.

A little of my personal NaNoWriMo history:

Year #1 (2006): I was awesome at developing characters but terrible at keeping any kind of plot going for 50,000 words. The end product was mediocre (all things considered) but I wasn't about to go showing it off. Either way, I was DONE. I had just written my first novel!

Year #2 (2007): This year was a flop. My plot literally didn't exist. My characters just went to work, had lunch, and hung out with their friends. I would never let anybody even come close to reading this novel, and I think I may have actually deleted it from my computer. However, on November 30th, I'd finished, and I was now a two-time novelist!

Year #3 (2008): I didn't fully outline a plot but I knew I had to plan out some kind of direction for my story because I did not want a repeat of 2007. I had good characters (based on people I knew in real life, which was probably the best thing I could have done) and a lot of funny scenes, but I had only planned out a basic, overall idea for the plot and I had trouble stretching it all the way to 50,000 words. Because of this, I wound up with a lot of silly and sort of random scenes for length. But again, I finished and was now a THREE-BOOK AUTHOR!

Year #4 (2009): This year I did so much prep work. I typed up a 10-page outline with every scene I planned to include and I also decided to change genres! I moved from realistic fiction all the way to children's fantasy (maybe because I'd just read The Golden Compass and felt inspired). This was kind of fun and allowed a lot of creativity but was weird and kind of unnatural for me.

Year #5 (2010): This was a good year for NaNoWriMo. Even though my life seemed hectic, I had lots of writing time and, while I didn't create a masterpiece, I did an ok job in the end. Five time novelist!

Year #6 (2011): I took the same story idea from 2010's novel and completely re-wrote it, changing characters, scenes, setting, and developing ideas better and more deeply. This was probably my best novel of all, but around November 28th, I lost enthusiasm and had trouble wrapping it up and tying together loose ends. I started to feel bitter toward the novel and thus, with only two days left of NaNoWriMo, I called it quits.

If you're writing a novel for 2012, I'd love to hear about it! We're having a NaNoWriMo discussion at the library tonight at 7pm! Come down and talk about your struggles and successes! I'd love to chat!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Teen Read Week 2012!

Are you a teen? Did you know it's Teen Read Week? Teen Read Week started in 1998 and is celebrated annually the third week of October (this year it's October 14-20). It encourages you to read for the fun of it and every year it has a different theme. It's important to celebrate Teen Read Week because, even though there are lots of really great entertainment options out there, reading for fun is free, entertaining, and proven to help improve test scores!

This year's theme is It Came From The Library! It can be interpreted however you want, but why not check out some of these popular and wonderful YA books that are both spooky and mysterious?

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Horowitz Horror: Stories You'll Wish You'd Never Read by Anthony Horowitz

Oddest of All: Stories by Bruce Coville

Skeleton Creek: [Ryan's Journal] by Patrick Carman 

Wolf Rider by Avi

And be sure to click here to vote for the theme of Teen Read Week 2013! You have the power to choose!

Friday, October 5, 2012

World Smile Day

Today is the 13th annual World Smile Day!

The smiley face that we all know today was created in 1963 by a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts named Harvey Ball.

 As the years passed, that image became one of the most recognizable symbols of good will and good cheer in the world. However, Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialization of it, worried that its original meaning had become lost in its constant repetition.

It was out of that concern that he came up with World Smile Day. He thought that everyone in the world should devote one day each year (World Smile Day) to smiles and kind acts.

"The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion.  Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each year, neither should we. He declared that the first Friday in October each year would henceforth be World Smile Day®." (

WSD11 elephantsThe first World Smile Day was held in 1999. Worcester, MA, the smiley face's hometown, was and still is the epicenter for World Smile Day. This year the Worcester event will have a marching band, free stuff, clowns, jugglers, a Ring Master, and (best of all) elephants from the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus!

While all this is going on in town, there will also be "Smile Ambassadors" out delivering Smile Certificates to people and, additionally, there will be local events and activities going on around the world. Is there anything going on at your local library?

After Harvey died in 2001, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was created to honor his name and memory. "Harvey Ball believed that each one of us has the ability to make a positive difference in this world and he lived according to that belief. He knew that any effort to improve the world, no matter how small, was worthwhile. And he understood the power of a smile and a kind act. In furtherance of that philosophy the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation focuses on small, grass-roots charitable efforts that otherwise receive little attention or funding." ( The Foundation continues to be the official sponsor of World Smile Day each year.

Want to celebrate with a few of your own acts of kindness? Here are a few books to inspire you:

Kids' Random Acts of Kindness foreword by Rosalynn Carter, introduction by Dawna Markova

Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World by Garth Sundem

Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents collected and adapted by Sarah Conover

Who Cares?: Millions Do-- A Book About Altruism by Milton Meltzer

Peaceful Kingdom: Random Acts of Kindness by Animals by Stephanie Laland

The Doggy Dung Disaster & Other True Stories: Regular Kids Doing Heroic Things Around the World by Garth Sundem.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month

Every year since 1968, Americans have observed National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. This month-long celebration recognizes the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Here are some good books that celebrate Hispanic culture:

Hispanic Heritage Month = Mes De La Herencia Hispana by Kerrie Logan Hollihan

Hispanic-American Crafts Kids Can Do! by Fay Robinson

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada

Lola's Fandango by written by Anna Witte

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match = Marisol McDonald No Combina by Monica Brown

The Fiesta Dress: A Quinceañera Tale by Caren McNelly McCormack

The Triple Banana Split Boy by Lucha Corpi

And here are a few recommendations for teen readers:

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Luminous by Dawn Metcalf

Playing For Keeps by Veronica Chambers

Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero

Benito Runs by Justine Fontes

Carmen: An Urban Adaptation of the Opera by Walter Dean Myers

Ambitious by Monica McKayhan

Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

Yesterday was the first day of 2012's Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Since the start of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs—a continuous reading of banned/challenged books—as part of their activities. This is the second year that readers from around the world can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos for BBW's YouTube channel.
Take a look at some popular banned books below. You might be surprised to find that some of your favorites are listed! Imagine if you never got the chance to read them.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Ttyl by Lauren Myracle

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Exercise your freedome to read and celebrate Banned Books Week from September 30th through October 6th by reading a banned book!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Shel Silverstein!

Today is such an exciting day that it gets TWO blog posts! I'd already posted about the awesome release of A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel, but how could I go without mentioning the birth-anniversay of the talented author of The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein!?

If Shel Silverstein was alive today, it would be his 72nd birthday!

Shel(don) Allan Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930 in Chicago, IL. He started writing and drawing at the age of 12 and began studying art at the University of Illinois after he graduated high school. He was forced to leave due to bad grades, but moved onto the Art Institute of Chicago after that, and then Roosevelt University after that. He was first published in the Roosevelt Torch, a student newspaper at Roosevelt University.

For much of the 50's and he published military cartoons (he was drafted into the army), magazine articles, and even a cartoon book for adults called "Now Here's My Plan: A Book of Futilities" in 1960. He was also a singer-songwriter, composer, and screenwriter. However, what he is best known for are his children's books, which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold over 20 million copies.

Some of his most famous of these children's books include: A Light In the AtticWhere the Sidewalk EndsRunny Babbit: A Billy SookUncle Shelby's Story of Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot BackFalling Up, and of course The Giving Tree.

Check one out at your library today and celebrate the talent that he had!

A Wrinkle In Time Graphic Novel!

Are you a fan of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time?

If so, here's some good news! One week from today (October 2nd) the graphic novel version of story is being released! It's been illustrated and adapted by Hope Larson, who is also responsible for the graphic novels Mercury, Chiggers, and Gray Horses, as well as others.

Put yourself on the list to reserve a copy by clicking here!

In the meantime, TOR.COM has an provided a slideshow of the first 12 pages to show you just how beautiful the graphic novel is going to be

Take a look here!

Happy tesserring!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Roald Dahl's Birthday!

If Roald Dahl was still alive, today would mark his 96th birthday! In celebration, check out one of these wonderful Roald Dahl books or biographies.
For more information about this awesome Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, check out Puffin Books.
Also take a look at Roald Dahl's website, for lots of information and games!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's Come Again... Library Card Sign Up Month.

Once again, September starts official Library Card Sign Up Month, and this year marks its 25th year!

Especially with the school year starting, if you don't already have one, now is the time to go to your library and sign up for a card. You'll be granted access to a whole bunch of free materials, activities, and resources to help you this school year.

Here are some examples:

1. Free computer and internet access every day, plus (in most cases) a few free prints a day too.

2. Hundreds of books, DVDs, CDs, and video games to take home and enjoy.

3. Classes all week long, like crafts, story times, lessons, workshops, family movies, game nights, concerts, and magic shows.

4. Help with your homework through the use of Live-brary, where you can get tutoring through BrainFuse and do research with our library-card-holder-only Online Resources.

5. TONS of free audiobooks and e-books to download onto your devices.

...And us! A lovely set of friendly librarians who are happy to help you with whatever you're looking for!

Stop into your library this month with some ID to get your library card! For more information, call or visit your library online!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laura's Book Club #3

Book club happened again!

It was held in its usually-lately format where we each recommend a book or two and discuss the books we read last month.

Last month I chose to read Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods, which, aside from sometimes being a little too non-fictiony, was actually kind of light and funny and had a good set of interesting (albiet real and non-fiction) characters. I'd recommend it, for sure!

Also, the photo to the left is our snack spread this month, which has the usual selection of fruits, nuts, and cheeses.

Anyway, here are my two recommendations for the month:

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

This is a prose-y book that follows the life of 16-year-old Bobby when he is thrown into single-parent, teenage fatherhood. After the baby’s mother, Nia, suffers from irreversible brain damage, Bobby is left to try to find a balance between school and friends (who don’t comprehend his new parenting role) and his beautiful, breathtaking love for his baby daughter, Feather.

The book alternates between “then” (before Feather) chapters and “now” (after Feather) chapters, making Bobby’s whole progress and simultaneous regress a mix of beautiful, touching, happy, and sad.

This book won the 2004 Coretta Scott King Award and the 2004 Printz Award. If I had my own book award, I’d give it to this book too.

How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers

This short story collection by Dave Eggers does what many other Dave Eggers books do:

1. Gives us a deep look into complex, compelling, and troubled characters brains.
2. Analyses funny, thought-provoking, and sometimes awkward social situations.
And 3. Takes us on a descriptive and beautiful journey around the world and, specifically, to countries we’d probably never even consider visiting (so much Africa!)

These are some of my favorite things to read about and each story, as many Dave Eggers books are, is absolutely beautifully written.

Other books recommended at book club:

Forever by Pete Hamill
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Walking Dead by Tony Moore
A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
January First by Michael Shofield

Anyone read any of these?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Birthday John Green!

Today marks the 35th birthday of one of my favorite YA authors, John Green.

In honor the day (as he's one of my favorites), I've decided to compile of list of fun John Green facts that you may or may not already know!

1. He grew up in Orlando, Florida.

2. He currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. However he used to live in New York City, and before that, in Chicago.

3. He graduated from Indian Springs School in Alabama, then got a B.A. from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

4. He has never considered writing a book for adults. YA only!

5. He has a YouTube account, which he and his brother, Hank, collaboratively update pretty frequently. According to his website, since January 2007, the two brothers have made more than 950 videos, which have been viewed more than 235 million times!

6. For several years, he wrote commentaries for Chicago Public Radio and, sometimes, for "All Things Considered" on NPR.
7. He has an interesting Tumblr.

8. He also has an interesting Twitter!

9. He is always working on a novel (although not always a novel that pans out into anything). His typical writing work day starts at 8am and ends at 6pm.

10. He and his friends and fans (partularly his YouTube buddies) have a sort of "group" (Ok, I admit, I can't find the right word for this so "group" will have to suffice) called the Nerdfighters. The Nerdfighters are a sort of active "group" of people who do things like communicate online through YouTube and John's Tumblr. Also, they create videos like the today-appropriate 2009 birthday video below:

Put one of the following John Green books on hold today:

Looking for Alaska

An Abundance of Katherines

Paper Towns

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

The Fault In Our Stars

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Teens' Top Ten Nominees

Teens' Top Ten is an annual list of teen-choice books. The nominated titles are chosen by members of teen book groups across the country and voting (which started yesterday) goes until Saturday, September 15th. The winners will be announced during Teen Read Week (October. 14-20).

Click here for the official list of 2012 Teen's Top Ten Nominations

Some highlights (or, personal highlights anyway) include:

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Shine by Lauren Myracle

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

You've got one month to read and vote, so get going!

Friday, August 10, 2012

NPR's 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels

A few days ago NPR released a list of the best YA books of all time. This is a wonderful list, and I am pleased to report that one of my favorite authors, John Green, has made it FIVE times!

See how many you've read here! I've only read 19 and have some serious catching up to do! What a great place to start!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Olympic Reading

We're just one week away from the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London! Are you planning to watch them?

Take a look at this year's Olympics website! What's your favorite summer Olympic game? Mine's gymnastics.

In keeping with the Olympic spirit, why not spend the next few days enjoying a good book about the Olympics as well as watching the games? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympic Games by John Feinstein

Pankration: The Ultimate Game by Dyan Blacklock

Artemis The Loyal by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: At All Costs by Carolyn Keene

In Lane Three, Alex Archer by Tessa Duder

The Century Kids, The 1930s: Directions by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler

Fire On Ice: Autobiography of a Champion Figure Skater by Sasha Cohen with Amanda Maciel

Jim Thorpe: Legendary Athlete by Barbara Long

Jesse Owens by Tony Gentry

Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

The 2012 London Olympics by Nick Hunter

The Olympics' Strangest Moments: Extraordinary But True Tales from the History of the Olympic Games by Geoff Tibballs


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Laura's Book Club #2

Book Club met again this past Sunday and I figured I would again share my two recommendations, as well as the books recommended by my friends. Hope you enjoy! (Remember, many of these are adult titles!):

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book, written with precise detail and told in alternating perspectives, is about a circus, open only from sunset to sunrise, that arrives without warning and leaves without warning. It's called Le Cirque des Rêves, and from the outside, it is an exciting, magical, fanciful place comprised of numerous, smaller, black-and-white striped tents, as opposed to one gigantic one.

Behind the scenes, however, the circus is a different story. There's a fierce competition involving Celia and Marco, two illusionists who have been trained to compete since childhood, and who’s coaches, Hector Bowen and Chandresh Christophe Lefevre, in fact, have been battling in this kind of fashion for years.

The rules, goal, and game play of their competition is hazy at first. The two illusionists have no idea how to win or even make moves, but eventually they figure out what to do, and learn that the entirety circus was designed specifically as a stage for their battle. Then there's the other problem: the deep, passionate love that Celia and Marco have found in each other.

Even while in love, the game must go on, and pretty soon, everybody who's even visited this circus's fate is on the line.

The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang & Derek Kirk Kim

This graphic novel tells three stories that perfectly border the line between fantasy and reality.

In the first story, "Duncan's Kingdom", set in a lush medieval Europe, Duncan, a brave prince, is embarking on a quest to win the hand of a fair lady... except there are peculiar and wrong-seeming details that seem to pop up in his dreams and around him, such as a modern Snappy Cola bottle. In a smooth transition between fantasy and reality, suddenly Duncan's world is confusing and may or may not be what he thought it always was.

The second story, "Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile", seems like a witty, anthropomorphic, statement about capitalism and religion. In Frogsville, USA Gran'pa Greenbax, a rich and greedy frog has a dream: to be able to dive into a pool of money and not hit his head. Unfortunately, this is not so easy. After a lot of trying, his lackey, Filbert, discovers a giant smile in the sky. This lets Gran'pa Greenbax start a new religion and make more money, getting him a step closer to his pool dream. But, as things are with evil people, the situation is just not straightforward.

In the last story, "Urgent Request", a very regular (if not somewhat frumpy) lady starts receiving the notorious Nigerian Prince emails. With a combination of kindness, hope, and naiveness (I know that's not a word but I don't know the correct noun form of "naive"), she answers the emails and even sends money to the prince. Is he real, maybe? Or not? This, again, considers what reality and fantasy really mean.

Each story in this book is quick, yet touching and beautiful. And, even though the stories are short, the characters are deep, complicated, and easy to connect with. The whole book can be read in an hour and will leave you thinking for days. I think this would be good first graphic novel for non-graphic novel readers who are secretly afraid of them.

Additionally, here is the list of the books recommended by my friends:

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen
How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
Girlchild by Hassman Tupelo
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What is the What? by Dave Eggers
Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

If you're interested in reading or recommending any books from/for my book club (and you're an adult!), leave me a comment. We can book-chat online!
Copyright 2009 Laura Druda