Dear Evan Hansen

indexIn computer lab, Evan Hansen has taken his therapist’s advice and written himself a letter that begins,  “Dear Evan Hansen … ” When it later winds up in the pocket of Connor Murphy, a classmate who has committed suicide, Evan finds it difficult to tell the truth about the letter. From its contents, Connor’s parents think Evan was a close friend. Can Evan find the courage to set them straight after getting entangled in lie after lie? This was a good treatment of suicide, and an important book for teens to read.

Mrs. Reader Pants

Mrs. Reader pants [] is a website/ blog site from an American librarian currently living in China.  Although a lot of her web site concerns school libraries, Mrs. Reader Pants also has book reviews, new release spotlights and news about hot topics in the children’s library world.  I especially like her New Release Thursdays which highlights titles every week in different age categories. Her blog is energetic and timely.  Her reviews have a “what a librarian needs to know” section that explains any questionable language or subject matter.  She includes book trailers and display ideas, too.  Make sure you check it out!

Caldecott torch

indexSophie Blackall and Matthew Cordell, the two recent winners of the Caldecott Medal have put their heads together and came up with a wonderful idea. They envisioned a sketchbook with 36 pages, and each year the winning artist will add a sketch from their book, passing it on every year to the next winner. Matt has drawn the cover and a sketch from his 2018 winner, A Wolf in the Snow. He has since passed it on to Sophie, this year’s winner for Hello Lighthouse. What a neat idea…

Talking To Strangers


If like me you are a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan, then you will enjoy his newest book Talking With Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know.

Gladwell (broadly, and in his brilliant roundabout way) discusses, “How do we make sense of the unfamiliar? Why are we so bad at judging someone, reading a face, or detecting a lie? Why do we so often fail to ‘get’ other people?” Talking to Strangers is all about what happens when we encounter people we don’t know, why it often goes awry, and what it says about us. In order to explore this topic Gladwell discusses examples such as the Sandra Bland case, the reasons behind Sylvia Plath’s suicide, and the Penn State Jerry Sandusky debacle.

If you are also a fan of Gladwell’s podcasts or just his voice in general, I would HIGHLY recommend listening to the audiobook. When possible his interviews (and they are aplenty) are recorded and given in the voice of the person he is speaking with and there even is a little bit of  a musical soundtrack that I think listeners would enjoy.

This book gets a TEN OUT OF TEN for me. Fascinating stuff – go have a listen!

First Rule of Punk

The First Rule of Punk  

Twelve year-old Maria Luisa’s life gets turned upside-down when she moves to Chicago with her mother.  Malu (her nickname) is Mexican-American.  She has inherited her father’s love of punk music and a unique style all her own.  As she struggles to make Chicago feel like home, Malu resents her (divorced) mother’s decision to take her away from her father.   Malu finds friends who enjoy her punk music interests and realizes that while it isn’t easy fitting in to a new school and neighborhood, she can find a place for herself to call home.  Malu’s strong personality sometimes gets her in trouble with her mother and the school administration, but she manages to find friends who appreciate her style and choices.