Friday, October 31, 2014

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?

Halloween Tunes

Dragula - Rob Zombie

Thriller - Michael Jackson

Bobby Pickett - Monster Mash

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Character Pumpkin Entries (School #1)

Well,  we had a lot of interest in this contest from our primary grades.  Armed with glue and paint and construction paper...and whatever else they brought from home, students attacked the mini pumpkins with gusto!  So much gusto that several had to go to the big Pumpkin-Patch-in-the-Sky due to fruit flies and rapid decay.  The idea was to paint the pumpkins as a book character and pose them with the matching book.  This didn't quite work out as intended.  The term 'character' brought forth  animated movie personalities and artistic interpretations of book themes.  I have 2 different schools working on this project.

Here are the results from school number one (minus those that didn't survive the wait for my next visit)  The No! David! was made by our Teacher Librarian as an example.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Plethora:  a great quantity

Languor:  listlessness, inactivity

Incipient:  beginning, in an early stage

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TheTale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb

Where do I even start? I love, Love, LOVE! this book!!! For enjoyment alone, it has broken into my top 5 reads. 

A young woman travels alone to a remote island to uncover a past she never knew...

When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James’s mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie’s father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?

In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family’s lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there’s the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it’s the eerie atmosphere or maybe it’s the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can’t shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen . . .
The Tale of Halcyon Crane (what a wonderful name!) opened up to me as a favorite hand-made quilt and a gentle fire insulated me from the suddenly cool weather that October has brought. Curled up in an oversized chair, I turned to the first page and became utterly lost to Ms. Webb's novel.

The tale is woven richly through description and memory. With detailed settings, old mansions begging to be explored and the Gothic atmosphere in a modern world, this mystery is not of the dropping breadcrumbs variety, but one that hovers on the edge of the personal journey that Halcyon is taking.  Nor is this a horror story, rather this is the eerie haunting of a family that prevails through the generations and their shrouded secrets.

As Iris, the elderly maid, relates Halcyon's own family history, generation by generation, I felt as though I became Hallie and it was my story she was telling. So engrossed by the words I was surprised more than once to look up and see that it was still light out and I was, in fact, still in my own living room. This is that magic given by transport one so completely that we forget it is but a novel.

The Tale of Halcyon Crane was Wendy Webb's debut novel.  She has since added 2 more titles to her collection about ghosts and family secrets and are also set on the Great Lakes.
The Fate of Mercy Alban  The Vanishing

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Meme

Friday, October 24, 2014

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?

Ed Sheeran


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Impossible Odds by Jessica Buchanan and Erik Landemalm with Anthony Flacco

A memoir of humanitarian aid worker Jessica Buchanan's kidnapping by Somali land pirates.  On October 25, 2011, thirty-two year-old Jessica Buchanan was working as a teacher for a humanitarian NGO in Somalia. But on that day she and a colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by Somali pirates who had moved their operations from the sea onto the land. Finally, after ninety-three days of fruitless negotiations, and with Jessica’s rapidly failing health raising her medical state to a life and death issue, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to raid the location. On January 25, 2012, nine heavily armed hostiles were killed with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter. Throughout the ordeal, every moment Jessica Buchanan spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband, Erik Landemalm. Impossible Odds chronicles their mutual journey during those torturous months. Together they relate the events prior to the kidnapping, the drama of Jessica’s fight to stay alive, and Erik’s efforts to bolster and support the hunt for her while he acted as a liaison between their two families, the FBI, professional hostage negotiators, and the United States government.

Impossible Odds not only details the events of Jessica's kidnapping and her family's turmoil during her captivity, but also wove in world and personal histories without displacing the flow of the story telling. I was impressed with how author Anthony Flacco arranged the telling of Erik and Jessica's story. The pacing and detail were perfect. Their voices rang true and were personal, balancing emotion with factual recall.  I very much felt as though I was hearing from the speakers in person, riding their emotional journey with then during this retelling. It was both compelling and harrowing. Even knowing the outcome, I still felt the stress and tension and worried for Jessica as I turned the pages.  I imagined her physical trials as well as the fear and frustrations.  I was right there with her on the pages as she described her secret mental camouflage.  Erik's terror for his wife and helplessness were palpable.  His unrelenting efforts in working with the various organizations involved while managing to maintain hope were inspiring.  There was no overuse of sentiment or reliance on political arguments - this was a personal story.  My only complaint would be the absence of a paragraph or two relating what happened to Jessica's co-worker, Poul Thistle after their rescue.  Carefully written to echo the timing of events and experiences, Impossible Odds carries the reader as a quiet observer in the tenacity and faith of the human spirit and the strength of a family - the Buchanans, the family of America and the greater family of humankind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2014 Teens’ Top Ten Titles Announced!

YALSA unveiled their list on October 20, 2014

Teens all over the world voted starting Aug. 15, with voting lasting through Teen Read Week™ (Oct. 12-18, 2014). Altogether, over 12,000 votes were cast for the 25 nominees.

The official 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles are as follows:

"Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell
"Splintered" by A.G. Howard
"The Rithmatist" by Brandon Sanderson
"The 5th Wave" by Rick Yancey
"Monument 14: Sky on Fire" by Emmy Laybourne
"Earth Girl" by Janet Edwards
"The Testing" by Joelle Charbonneau
"Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson
"Siege and Storm" by Leigh Bardugo
"The Eye of Minds" by James Dashner 

(source: ALA)


Imbroglio: an alteration of a complicated situation

Ethereal:  invisible but detectable

Assemblage:  a gathering

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marie Antoinnette Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger.

With a title like Marie Antoinnette Serial Killer there was a lot of potential for cheese in the story. Instead, what I found was a well-written and interesting, fun romp through Paris. I seem to be on a bit of a ghost story kick right now and this book fit in very nicely. Both a modern day and historical mystery, Marie Antoinnette Serial Killer was finished in one delightful sitting.  I enjoyed the development of the characters - nothing in their descriptions wasted. The history of the French Revolution was a major plot point and was described with a liveliness and personality not always found in history records. Alender takes the reader on an intimate tour of Paris where you can almost feel the textures of the stone walls and feel the breeze as you navigate the narrow streets.

This is another title taken from our Scholastic book fair and because of the title the subject matter and once again a mature sticker on the book there was some question as to whether or not it was appropriate for the intermediate students. I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that this book is captivating and well written and one that I can easily recommend to my students. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Meme

There is no such thing as a child who hates to read.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy at the Library

Some Folks At Texas A&M Set Up A Camera And Started Playing Music. What Happens Next Will Make You Unreasonably Happy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

iPod Friday

(Picture adapted from jamona_cl on flicker)

At the end of the week I give myself a treat and listen to my iPod at work while processing books or working on the database.   These are my picks for today.                          What do you listen to at work?

Florida Georgia Line

yup..going country

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ruined by Paula Morris

Ruined (Ruined, #1)Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads Tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city.

Hailed as Twilight with a ghostly twist, Ruined happily exceeded that dubious description.  I picked this up from the last school book fair.  I was intrigued by the cover art and the mature warning sticker on the cover.  While I didn't find anything objectionable in the book, certainly nothing more daring or shocking than in many other books we carry, I suspect the violence of a murder story line was what prompted the warning.   The ghost story and mystery are interesting and well written.  The characters sometimes fell into stereotypes of evil vs good and could have been a bit more fleshed out, but the detail surrounding the story of our ghost, Lissette, was very well done.  The highlight of this novel is the city of New Orleans.  Morris brings the beauty, history and strength of the city to life throughout the pages.  It was quite unexpected, especially in a YA novel. This is what elevated the book from being not bad, to one I will recommend to my students.
Morris has followed Ruined up with Unbroken (Ruined #2) where we catch up with Rebecca one year later as she returns to New Orleans and becomes involved in another ghostly mystery.

13409499Welcome back to New Orleans.Where the streets swirl with jazz and beauty.
Where the houses breathe with ghosts.

A year ago, Rebecca Brown escaped death in a New Orleans cemetery. Now she has returned to this haunting city. She is looking forward to seeing Anton Grey, the boy who may or may not have her heart.

But she also meets a ghost: a troubled boy who insists only she can help him. Soon Rebecca finds herself embroiled in another murder mystery from more than a century ago. But as she tries to right wrongs, she finds more questions than answers: Is she putting her friends, and herself, in danger? Can she trust this new ghost? And has she stumbled into something much bigger and more serious than she understands?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Woebegone:  sorrowful, downcast

Penumbra: a half shadow

Mellifluous: sweet sounding

Forest of Reading 2015

Forest of Reading
Each year, the Ontario Library Association (OLA) presents a reading program " designed to cultivate a love of reading for people of all ages:  Each year public and school libraries offer the program to more than 1 quarter million participants. There are eight programs, each containing 10 titles bey Canadian authors.  To be eligible to vote in an individual program, readers must finish a minimum of 5 titles from 10 nominated program.

For School-Aged Readers

Program Name Grade RangeBook Type 
Blue Spruce™JK–grade 2 picture books
Silver Birch®Grades 3–6fiction / non-fiction
Red Maple™Grades 7–8fiction, non-fiction (every other year)
White Pine™Grades 9–12fiction, non-fiction (every other year)
Le Prix Peupliervariespicture books
Le Prix Tamaracvarieschapter books
Le Prix Tamarac Expressvariesshorter chapter books or mature picture books

For Adults

Program Name Grade RangeBook Type 
Golden Oak™ Awardsadults learning to read, ESLfiction
Evergreen™ Awardadults of any age
fiction, non-fiction

Here are the titles for this year's OLA Forest of Reading Program

The Day My Mom Came To Kindergarten Maureen Fergus,
The Highest Number in the World Roy Macgregor, Genevieve Despres
Kenta and the Big Wave Ruth Ohi
Loula is Leaving for Africa Anne Villeneuve
Man with the Violin Kathy Stinson
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress Christine Baldacchino
Most Magnificent Thing Ashley Spires
My Blue is Happy Jessica Young
Oddrey and the New Kid Dave Whamond
Young Frank, Architect Frank Viva
Creature Department Robert Paul Wetson
Dial M for Morna - Dead Kid Detective Agency  Evan Munday
Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden Jill MacLean
Madman of Piney Woods Christopher Paul Curtis
Me & Mr. Bell Philip Roy
Night Gardener Jonathan Auxier
Red Wolf Jennifer Dance
Saving Houdini Michael Redhill
September 17 Amanda West Lewis
Striker David Skuy
50 Body Questions: A Book That Spills Its Guts Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Annaleise Carr: How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling Cancer Annaleise Carr as told to Deborah Ellis
Big Book of Hockey for Kids Eric Zweig
Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends Rob Laidlaw
Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home Michelle Mulder
Extraordinary Life of Anna Swan Anne Renaud
From Vimy to Victory: Canada's Fight to the Finish in World War 1 Hugh Brewster
History of Just About Everything: 180 Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World Elizabeth MacLeod
It's a Feudal, Feudal World Stephen Shapiro
Zoobots: Wild Robots Inspired by Real Animals Helaine Becker
Be a Wilderness Detective Peggy Kochanoff
Every Day is Malala Day Rosemary McCarney
The Fly Elise Gravel
From There to Here Laurel Croza
The Great Bike Rescue Hazel Hutchins
How to Save a Species Jonathan Baillie
Kung Pow Chicken #1 Let's Get Cracking Cyndi Marko
My Name is Blessing Eric Walters
Prove it, Josh Jenny Watson
Seconds Sylvia Taekema
The Boundless Kenneth Oppel
The Comic Book War Jacqueline Guest
Dead Man's Switch Sigmund Brower
How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied Jess Keating
Outside In Sarah Ellis
Rule of Three Eric Walters
The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden Philippa Dowding
Summer Days. Starry Nights Vikki VanSickle
Unspeakable Caroline Pignat
Zomboy Richard Scrimger
Growing Up, Inside and Out Kira Vermond
It's Catching: The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes Jennifer Gardy
The Last Train: A Holocaust Story Rona Arato
Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World Robbie Robertson
Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids Deborah Ellis
Pay It Forward Kids: Small Acts, Big Change Nancy Runstedler
Real Justice: Sentenced to Life at Seventeen: The Story of David Milgard Cynthia J. Parton
Start Cooking From Scratch: What You Should Know about Food and Cooking Sarah Elton
We Are Canada Rika Saddy
Why Do We Fight? Conflict, War, and Peace Niki Walker
Le cadeau des frères Bravo Caroline Merola
Je suis riche! Angele Delaunois
Je veux un animal de compagnie Jennifer Couëlle
La limace Elise Gravel
Ma petite boule d'amour Jasmine Dube
Meuh où est Gertrude? Benoit Dutrizac
Rocheux anniversaire, Léopold! Isabelle Gaul
Une Charlotte olympique Mireille Messier
La vie rêvée de Crapaud la grenouille Carine Paquin
Le voleur de couche Nadia Sevigny
Victor Cordi (anomalie maléfique) Annie Bacon
Cocorico! Francois Gravel
La fabuleuse histoire de Jérémy Leloup Gilles Tibo
Le journal de guerre d'Émilio André Jacob
Max et la belle inconnue Olivier Challet
Destination Monstroville 01 - Moche Café Nadine Descheneaux
Pas question que les criminels dormant René Cochaux
La patate cadeau ou la vraie histoire de la poutine râpée Diane Carmel Léger
La plus grosse poutine du monde Andrée Poulin
Quatre Filles de génies Emmanuelle Bergeron
Le catalogue de robots Jean-Pierre Guillet
Embrouilles à Embrun Mireille Messier
Guiby : Une odeur de soufre Sampar (Samuel Parent)
Il m'énerve, ce William Parker! Alain M. Bergeron
Julie et Alexis le Trotteur Martine Latulippe
Lucie Wan en danger Agnes Grimaud
Mission... à donner le frisson! Lili Chartrand
Moi, zèbre bouchard Myriam De Repentigny
Pablo trouve un trésor Andrée Poulin
Tsuki, princesse de la Lune Suzanne de Serres

Title image and table from the OLA website

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Orca Soundings: Flower Power ** Blob ** Watch Me

Flower Power by Ann Walsh
Callie's Mother Has chained herself to the neighbor's tree and is living inside the treehouse. She refuses to come down until the neighbor, Mr. Wilson, agrees to leave the tree standing. Soon reporters arrive to interview Callie about her mother's protest. Callie doesn't want to talk to anyone. More chaos ensues when Callie's grandmother invites the "singing grannies" to help save the tree, the neighbor's biker friends come to her aid, and Callie's friends show up to try to get themselves on TV. Callie needs to figure out how to get her mother to come down from the tree so that her life can return to normal.

This story about standing up for what you believe in, and about supporting starts out with good intentions. Perhaps the aim was to appeal to the readers feeling of not being heard, but the complete lack of respect for the opinions and feelings of 12-year old Callie shown by her loving family throughout the book negated any validity in the character of the other players in this story. In the end, Callie has a simple solution for situation that had become out of contraol and bordered on mass hysteria. This works as a kid-saves-the-world story but not as the take a stand story the synopsis suggested. The willingness of the family to allow strangers into their homes and daughter's life was also alarming. I like the concept of the plot, just not the manner in which author Ann Walsh had it play out.

Blob by Freida Wishinsky

It's hard enough for Eve to adjust to a new high school without the extra weight she's gained over the summer. Her best friend is ashamed to hang out with her, and she's become the focus of a schoolmate's cruelty. Determined not to be "that pathetic fat girl" at school, Eve struggles with a diet and forces herself to join a mentoring program. The diet only makes her food obsessed, and she feels she is failing as a mentor. How can a lonely fat girl gain the confidence she needs to succeed?

I liked that author Frieda Wishinsky chose not to focus solely on the physical struggles Eve faces - clothes not fitting and dieting - but includes the emotional and social impacts of looking different and how important the influences of others opinions can seem to be. By adding Eve'a involvement in a mentoring program, Wishinsky has cleverly woven in the high value of the person that lies beyond first impressions and appearances.


Watch Me by Norah McClintock
At first Kaz intends to help the old lady who's fallen in the park. But then he starts thinking about how he never gets what he wants. The next thing he knows, he's running away with her purse. The purse contains only five dollars and a battered watch. When Kaz learns who the old woman is and where the watch came from, he begins to understand consequences in a new way.
McClintock presents a tale where impulse and consequences meet squarely in the intersection of conscience and self preservation. The internal dilemma of what to do after a mistake is made is explored with all the nuances of real life. Guilt, uncertainty, shame, bravado, denial and courage all take their turn until a decision is finally made. What is the right thing to do? What are the consequences for following that knowledge, or for ignoring it? How does one decide which choice to make?