Thursday, February 24, 2011

Passion and Poison: Tales of Shape-Shifters, Ghosts, and Spirited Women

I was browsing my local public library the other day looking for tween titles that i hadn't seen before, and Passion and Poison caught my eye with its' fetching cover and creepy title.  Kids are always asking us for "scary" stories and it is sometimes difficult to find something scary that is still age appropriate at the same time.  This collection of original takes on traditional folklore motifs is just the thing.

Author Janice M. Del Negro wrote these tales to be read aloud, but even someone reading to him/herself is bound to get the chills somewhere in this collection.  There are 8 tales in all ranging from the more traditional ghost story "Skulls and Bones, Ghosts, and Gold", to the truly gory "The Severed Hand", with my favorite being the latter.

All of the stories are hauntingly illustrated by Vince Natale to great effect. Readers who have been fans of Gidwitz's recent Tale Dark and Grimm are certain to enjoy these dark and creepy tales.

Readers beware...not for the faint of heart!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the Clip Board

Here are some of the books that our tweens are reading this week.

Top Ten Deadliest Sharks, by Joe Brusha

A Whole Nother Story, by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Juster, by Barbara O'Connor

The Vanishing Violin, by Michael D. Bell

The Teacher's Funeral, by Richard Peck

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meanwhile: Pick any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga

I have been getting quite a few requests in the library for Choose Your Own Adventures these days.  The requests are coming from both the younger and the older set, which is pretty interesting to me.  One of the bolder of these that I am giving to the older kids is Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga.

Chocolate or Vanilla?  This choice will sets off an adventure involving quantum physics, inventions, and entropy among other things.  Our young ice cream fan needs a bathroom, and finds one in a lab where he gets the privilege of testing out some inventions (which ones are entirely up to you!). 

Differing from the typical Choose Your Own Adventure, this is in no way a linear journey.  Readers get to the next segment of the story by following a series of pipes up, down, back and forth and occasionally through a tangled up maze to get to the next segment of the story.

Now, I in no way made it through all 3856 options, but you know what?  I know *several* kids who will take the time and the renewals that it will take in order to do it!  Shiga has a gift for making the uber scientific concepts accessible to kids (and adults) who may not know what things like entropy really mean coming into Meanwhile.

The format is great.  Laminated pages will hold up to all of the back and forth that the pages need to have to make the story work, and the explanation of how the book works is very clear.  This is a great book to gift to someone as they will return to it again and again, even if they only have "10 minutes" to get some reading in.  Meanwhile was recently listed in YALSA's Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and I will extend the category to include the tweens as well!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tween Readers

One of the new things that is going to happen on this here blog, is that I will be interviewing tweens about their reading habits.  The first reader to be interviewed on Tweendom is "Scout".  She has been wandering around my library for years, and when I think of the term "reader" I think of her.

Do you consider yourself a reader?
Definitely!  I love to read, and many of my friends complain that I "read too much."  I read as often as I can.

What are your favorite genres to read?
I enjoy reading realistic fiction, because I can really relate to the characters, historical fiction, because I love hearing about history, and fantasy, because, I mean, who doesn't like to read about wizards and flying and magic talking dragons? 
How do you select the books you want to read?
There are many other avid readers in my grade and in other grades, and I love hearing recommendations from them.  If I see a friend reading a good book, I'll probably go to the library and try to find it.  But sometimes I also just browse the library and look for good books.  I have the unfortunate bad habit of starting at the middle of the book, reading to the end and then finishing the beginning. 
What is your favorite book so far?
I have 3 favorite books, but I look for more favorites every day.  Currently my favorites are Queens Own Fool, by Jane Yolen, because the writing style is rich and marvelous,  Jacky Daydream, an autobiography of Jaqueline Wilson, because she has a way of making you get lost in the book and never want to come out, and Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle, because it is filled with real life problems but also real life happiness. 
  What is your favorite thing about reading?
   My favorite thing about reading is when I'm reading a good book, I'm totally gone.  Its like I'm traveling through a magical world instead of sitting on the couch, and I can't hear anybody (sometimes a problem around dinner time).  If you are reading the right book, reading can be amazing, and you never want to leave that book until you're finished. 
Do you read on an e-reader/phone/computer?
Never!  I do acknowledge that Kindles are practical, but I am a very much old fashioned reader, and I prefer to stick with a normal book instead of a cold computer screen.  Plus, how do you get lost in the story with a computer? 
What kinds of books do you think are the most popular with kids your age?  Why?
I think that adventure novels have been very popular with kids in my grade this year.  I see many people reading books such as The Hunger Games and Alex Rider.  I don't love adventure novels, but I can see how living a normal life in middle school can make you want some adventure. 
 What are you currently reading?
I've just finished To Kill A Mockingbird (everybody I asked loved it, so I had to find out whether it was good.)  I have started Born On A Blue Day, which is a memoir of an autistic savant.  It is an interesting perspective on life.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

New Blog Alert

You all know how much fun it is to find a new blog, right?  Well this one is a little extra special since it is authored by a real life tween who I just happen to know.
"Scout" has been wandering around my library since she was about 3 and has just started her very own blog, which she has called "Blog 4 Book Lovers" .  Her  first review is for Lauren Myracle's Luv Ya Bunches, and if you head over to take a look, you can see what she thinks!

Welcome to the kidlitosphere, Scout!