Author Archive

Olive, Again

November 14, 2019

Olive, Again (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel by [Strout, Elizabeth]    As in the Strout’s first book about Olive Kitteridge, this novel also seems like a string of short stories about people living in Crosby, Maine with Olive as the star.  We meet back up with Olive beginning with Jack Kennison, a widowed Harvard professor who left his professorship somewhat under disgrace when he was found to be having an affair with a student.  Jack is a curmudgeonly, grumbling old man who wanders his large, empty home wondering how it’s all come to this.  And then he meets Olive.  Her irascibility makes him realize she is just what his life is missing at this stage.  At first, Jack and Olive are somewhat brash with each other.  Then they realize they are just the piece each needs to make their life seem whole and meaningful.  Along with Jack and Olive we meet several other Crosby, Maine characters.  Some of them interact with Olive and others exist on the periphery as if Strout is describing various neighbors of a small town in the northeast.  I enjoyed the stories about Olive the most.  And if you choose to listen to ‘Olive Again’ you’ll get the extra treat of hearing the narrator speak Olive’s curt, “Yep” and “Oh, Godfrey” as only our beloved Olive can.

White Bird

November 2, 2019

White Bird: A Wonder Story  White Bird is R. J. Palacio’s (Wonder) new graphic novel set in France during World War II..  A young Jewish girl’s life is turned upside down when German soldiers invade her town. She is separated from her parents and flees on her own.  Luckily, a boy from her school hides her in the family barn and protects her.  As the years pass, Sara wonders if her parents survived and grows to care for the boy, Julian (a Wonder character), who she was not nice to when they were students together in school.  Palacio’s book is a good introduction to the time period for children not familiar with the events of the war as well as those who are experts.  The drawings are paired excellently with the story.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Mrs. Reader Pants

October 24, 2019

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!

First Rule of Punk

October 17, 2019

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.

Revolting Rhymes

October 10, 2019

 Finding connections between books and other media like live theater, movies, festivals and TV is often useful for bringing attention to children’s books that might otherwise be overlooked.  Netflix has a two episode program of fractured fairy tales based on the Roald Dahl poetry book, “Revolting Rhymes.” These animated films (originally illustrated by Quentin Blake) capture the humor and horror of beloved stories turned naughty.  Published in 1982 and now streaming on Netflix, these short films (~29 minutes) take Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and other characters into the dark side for a lively look at the real story we were never told. The unexpected twist that comes at the end is sure to make your well-behaved angels feel just a bit naughty and suitably revolting.  Our library system has a copy on DVD as well as the original book available.

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