Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Fierce and Subtle Poison

Everywhere we go we are surrounded by stories. Stories about people and places, stories that are told and retold until they are so shrouded in mystery, no one remembers the origin, and no one is brave enough to discover the truth. Like Samantha Mabry’s legend of the poisonous girl.

Check out the full review at Cleaver Magazine.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Honor Girl

Honor Girl is a compelling graphic memoir that you will want to finish in one sitting, so be warned. Graphic memoirs just might be my favorite type of "graphic" book, like El Deafo by Cece Bell, Smile by Raina Telgemeier, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Maggie has always gone to the same girls' camp every summer, but during her fifteenth summer, she falls in love. With a girl. (Because it's a girls' camp.) Maggie is shocked to find this vital piece of information she didn't know about herself, and spends the summer trying to deal with her feelings. The book is framed by seventeen-year-old Maggie looking back at the summer.

Besides the main storyline of coming out to herself, the side stories in this book are wonderfully, and completely embody the timeless feeling of summer camp. I loved the book for the story, because the people looked a little too much like anime drawings for me to relate to, but then I looked more into Maggie Thrash herself.

It turns out, she isn't an artist at all. She wanted to share the story of her fifteenth summer and coming out, but didn't want to tell it in a traditional way, so she decided to try making it a graphic novel. She looked up illustrations of people and trees and kept practicing until hers looked good. From an interview with MTV:
It’s sort of important to me to let kids know you don’t have to have art school cred to do this. Just do it. Anyone can do it. Not to devalue the medium, but don’t be intimidated by it. Just try it.
Also worth sharing are her thoughts on diversity in young adult fiction:
I’m really excited for the day when you can no longer presume that the protagonist is straight, or that they’re white, or that they have all their arms and legs. There’s this unwritten rule that the protagonist has to be a tabula rasa for you to be able to relate to them, and that a tabula rasa equals straight, equals white, and just that — it needs to, and everyone wants to, be able to relate to other kinds of protagonists and other kinds of stories.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Imaginary Friends

I think today was my favorite storytime I've had with SRVS! The theme was "imaginary friends" - we've all had them, and some of us still do! We talked about that for a few minutes, and then I read Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The class remembered Oliver Jeffers from other programs, like when we read The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home. They also remembered that we read The Incredible Book Eating Boy at the first storytime! I love Imaginary Fred so much, I made a rave review video about it for A Book A Minute.

Next I showed them the Beekle cover, and then took off the dust jacket. The room seriously gasped! This is the most beautiful book I've ever seen. The gorgeous cover made the class eager to read the book.

I lucked out one day at Bargain Hunt and found this cool "Padzooks!" book for two bucks; it has 36 little paper bobbleheads that you can fold up and accessorize. I thought it would be perfect for this program because we could make our own "unimaginary" friends like Beekle and Fred. Everyone loved picking what character they wanted to fold and accessorize; some people even made more than one!

I've also written about previous library programs for adults with disabilities.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Beverly Cleary's books were my favorites when I was a kid; they're still my "comfort food" of the book world. The stories of Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Otis Spofford pop into my mind more often than you think they would. I remember some of the exact phrases from the Ramona books I read and re-read as a child!

In 2012, a friend and I traveled to Portland, Oregon. While we were there, we visited Grant Park, where a lot of Beverly Cleary's books take place. Grant Park is the home of the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children, with statues of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Henry's dog Ribsy.

Check out more about Beverly Cleary's birthday from the author herself.