Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

When people think about faith, they usually think "Christian fiction" or "Inspirational fiction".  I happen to both be a Christian and to hate Christian fiction.  I know that seems like a controversial statement, but on the whole it tends to focus so much on being Christian that it loses its focus on good writing, story, and character development.  So I am always excited to read a ya novel that handles faith with depth and grace, which is part of the reason why I love Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams.

Back cover blurb: When the best part of a family dies, everyone falls apart . . .

First lines: After it happened no one in school would talk to me.  No one.

Wild Child Conference Key Note Speaker 2011: The Power of Presence

Every year in September in Marion, Ohio there is a conference known as The Wild Child Conference. The goal of this conference is to keep educators and organizations that work with teens in the know about teen life, culture, and the topics that impact their lives. For the third year in a row, I have the honor of being a part of the board of the Wild Child Conference. The 2011 WCC looked at addiction in the lives of teens.  Here, keynote speaker Annette Franks talks in basic terms about addiction.  To be honest, she spoke quickly and I didn't get a lot of good notes.  But I really liked what she said about the power of presence and hope that is highlighted below.

Information for the 2012 Wild Child Conference

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins: My last summer read

Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but summer is coming to an end soon.  The school supplies are out in the stores.  I know, I didn't want to see them either.  So here's today's Friday Fill-In.

Given that summer reading is drawing to a close, the ONE book I want to make sure I read before it is back to school time again is ________________________ by ___________________.

TPIB: Meme ALL the Shirts! (Heather Booth)

Though I’m no technophobe, I’m not what you would call an early adopter. So involving technology in my teen programing isn’t always (ever?) the first thing that springs to mind when I sit down to plan my next session. This TPIB is for people like me, who want to bring some of the basic STEM elements into their teen programs, but aren’t sure where to start and have a core group of teens who enjoy a hands-on project. It works with a wide range of ages and interest, and is equally great with guys or girls.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: Zom-B by Darren Shan

"A boy staggers into the gym. He's bleeding. Terrified. Moaning. He falls and I see that a chunk has been cut-bitten-out of the back of his neck.  Blood spurts from the wound. As we gape, more kids spill into the gym. All screaming. Some bleeding. Everyone in shock." (Back cover of Zom-B)

Zom-B is the first book in a new 12 part book series coming out by Darren Shan.  Darren Shan is, of course, popular for The Vampire's Assistant and The Demonata series.  If you are familiar with the works of Shan you know that he writes some pretty twisted horror, and book one in this series is no different.

It starts out with simple news reports: there have been zombie attacks in Ireland.  As B watches the news with dear old dad you can't help but wonder - can it be true?

Don't Miss These Titles! The OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED Books!

I love a good plot twist.  And I love a good adventure.  But there are few books that really WOW me and take me to a place that I didn't already see coming.  I guess that is what happens when you read so much...kinda stinks sometimes.  But every once in a while, you'll get that ending or plot twist that just completely blows your mind.  The following books...consider me mind blown.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's talk Access! And why libraries are radically unsafe places, and that's a good thing!

Access: Noun
1. the ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use; admittance: They have access to the files.
2. the state or quality of being approachable: The house was difficult of access.
3. a way or means of approach: The only access to the house was a rough dirt road. (from

So you may have noticed the other day I got all ranty about a magazine's decision to pull a review for the book Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein.  On the one hand, I concede that they have the right to publish whatever they wish in their magazine, I really and truly do.  On the other hand, I object on the grounds that what they are in fact doing is limiting their readers access to information and the ability to make decisions for themselves.  I'm all about access to information.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Blogiversary (Pt 2) ! : Stephanie's Top 10 Posts

I am still very new to Teen Librarian's Toolbox, but it's a blog that I've followed for quite some time.  In March, Karen was gracious enough to let me join her as part of the TLT Team.  I don't make pretty pictures for my posts like she does unfortunately, so unless she takes this blog and adds in her pretty may look a little sparse! [Karen's Note: I am so happy to be working with Stephanie, she has a tremendous heart for teens and such knowledge of our field.  And yes, I added pictures for you.]

So, in no order, rhyme, but lots of reason, here are my Top 10 TLT Posts!

I first really started paying closer attention to this blog when #the2012project started up because the concept was awesome and it completely interested me.  I had already been a fan of Karen's excellent RA posters but this involved the teens.  It gave them ownership.  And to me, this is one of the strongest ways that we can give a voice that teens are in the library reading or hanging out all the time.  It's a great advocacy campaign.  If you have not yet participated, there's still plenty of time left!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where Things Come Back - Blog Tour

For over a year, I have been salivating and talking about this book to every person I know, every teen that comes into the library, and to every librarian or blogger or person who loves teens.  Why?  Because there are some books that you read that create a permanent stamp on your heart.  Corey Whaley's book did just that for me.

Tomorrow is the official release date for the paperback and I have to say, I was a fan of the original cover art but this paperback?  It's hot stuff.  I was lucky enough to find a copy in the wild at ALA and had to pose and take a pic with it!

I feel as if things don't only come back but they also come full circle.  Picture it.  Louisiana Tech University.  2004ish.  I sat down in French class across from this guy.  He was a nice guy, really funny, and adorbs.  A few more classes together and I considered myself acquaintances with this charming guy.  Added each other as friends on FB and then in late 2009, noticed that charming guy is now a YA author.  I thought, "Well isn't that cool.  I'll message him because I'm now a YA librarian and I would love to promote his book!"  And so it began and my friendship with Corey is now one that I treasure dearly as he is one of the kindest, most amazing guys that I know and gives THE BEST advice ever.  Crazy how you never know what that kid next to you in class will become one day.  In my case, a rock star Printz Award winning author.  

Because we've already interviewed Corey AND he's written a 'Why YA?' post, I thought that I would share with everyone Corey's speech from the Printz Award Reception at ALA Annual in Anaheim.  This speech moved me and my friend both to tears and I'm surprised you don't hear us crying in the background.  So, pick up a copy of this book immediately, but first, check out YOUR 2012 Michael L. Printz winner, Mr. John Corey Whaley's acceptance speech.  It's good stuff.  #savealibrary

Wild Child Conference 2011: Asset Building

Every year in September in Marion, Ohio there is a conference known as The Wild Child Conference. The goal of this conference is to keep educators and organizations that work with teens in the know about teen life, culture, and the topics that impact their lives. For the third year in a row, I have the honor of being a part of the board of the Wild Child Conference. The 2011 WCC looked at addiction in the lives of teens.  Here, Jodi Galloway, a licensed social worker and coordinator for the local anti-drug education program, discusses how she uses the 40 Developmental Assets as a means of empowering teens and decreasing at risk behavior.

Information about the 2012 Wild Child Conference

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

When most people think of Joss Whedon, they tend to think of the guy who writes kick-ass girls.  Which he does.  But when I think of Joss Whedon I think of this: you are born into a family, but you also build a family and in many ways, that family is so much stronger because those are the people you have fallen in love with along the way.  Buffy came from a broken home, but she built the strongest of families with Xander and Willow and Giles and in the end, even Spike.  When Angel left he too built his own family in LA, with Cordelia and Wesley and Fred and Lorne.  And in Firefly, the rag tag gang of outlaws became a family that gathered together to protect the weakest among them, River (even if Jayne did occasionally stumble).

McFarland & Company (June 23, 2005) 978-0786421725

What, you may ask, does this have to do with How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr?  Why, I'm glad you asked.

"A hundred small papercuts of daily living perhaps"

I met Libba Bray at ALA. It was a highlight for me because I love her so: the way she speaks, the way she chooses to boldly say what needs to be said, what we need to be reminded of.  Today, Libba posted about the tragedy that occurred last night in Colorado and I want to make sure as many people as possible see it.  So please, go read.  Words are often the tools we need to change our world, to soothe our soul, to be the balm . . .

"For today, we must be the superheroes of kindness a weary world needs." - Libba Bray

In case you missed it...

  • I have been following The Mortal Instruments casting like a complete crazy person and I am completely BLOWN AWAY by how hot Magnus Bane will be in the movie!!!!
  • For those fellow Nerdfighters (DFTBA), John Green's 'Looking for Alaska' just hit the NYT Bestseller List almost 6 years after publication for the first time. 
  • So Flavorwire released their 10 Greatest YA Series of All Time...see what you think.  My verdict is WHAT?
  • Maureen Johnson was the triumphant winner of the Queen of Teen UK Crown...why don't we do this in the US?  (I totally voted for MJ!)
  • Thought the ARC controversy was over? Well, YA author Elizabeth Fama definitely made a few of her own thoughts about ARCs very well known. 
  • You all know me (Stephanie) well enough to know that I advocate strongly for LGBTQ novels.  One of my fav authors, Malinda Lo, wrote an article for the Huffington Post about '10 LGBTQ Young Adult Novels to Make it Better'.  Check it out!
  • Fan of Marie Lu's novel Legend? She stopped by to talk with MTV at Comic Con about how the filming was going for the movie adaptation.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Spoiler Alert: Don't read the italicized book quotes if you don't want to.  They are meant to illustrate the beauty of the storytelling and the narration device employed.  Consider yourself duly warned.

Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win.”

Someone asked a few weeks ago at a #yalitchat if there was such a thing as literary young adult fiction.  To which I say: YES! And if you read Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, you will never doubt the truth of that statement again.

Tiger Lily is the story of Peter Pan before he met Wendy.  This is not Peter Pan's story, but 15-year-old Tiger Lily's story. Tiger Lily lives outside the Forbidden Woods of Neverland where her people seem to never grow old.  She is in the care of the very nontraditional Tik Tok, and is watched over by the seldom seen Tinkerbell.  In fact, Tinkerbell is the narrator of our story, the proverbial fly on the wall that sees and hears all but seldom plays an active part - although seldom does not mean never.

“Why does this faerie follow you everywhere?" he asked. "Do you think she's plotting to murder you in your sleep?" he teased. My wings and the tips of my feet tingled with anger. But then he reached a finger toward me gently, and the anger melted. "Let's name her Tinker Bell," he said, like I was their child. He swooped his hand underneath me. "Hi, little Tink." Hearing him say it thrilled me-a name Peter had invented, just for me.” 

Expecting the Unexpected: Lock-In Bob-ombs (TPIB)

“There's a plan in everything, kid, and I love it when a plan comes together.” -Col. Hannibal Smith, A-Team (2010)

Lock-ins are wonderful when you have the right mindset at the beginning; however, they can easily snowball into a mess if you look the other way for a minute. Every library is different; the community surrounding my library is vastly different from the community surrounding the branch library less than twenty minutes away but in the same town. As the teen librarian (or the de facto teen librarian, since you’re reading this), you know your teens and the community, and should know generally what will and won’t work with your teens. That’s not the point for this post- you’ve gotten the basics, talked to your staff and admin, and posted for ideas on the various listservs. The point of this post is to point out the little things that can trip you up and cause issues before you even start.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Don't Miss These Titles! Great Middle Grade and Guy Reads!

At ALA, I happened to pick up a ton of middle grade reads.  Generally, this is not an area which I consider myself very well read but I was thrilled to get my hands on these ARCs and even more excited that I actually really liked them!  Since some of them don't come out for a while, I can't officially 'review' them, but I can recommend them for your collections!

The first book is Liar & Spy by Rebecca STead (9780385737432, release date 8/7/12, Random House Children's Books).  Seventh grader Georges (the 's' is silent) moves into a new apartment building and meets Safer, a spy who has started his own spy club (of which no one is a member but Safer UNTIL NOW!).  Together, Georges and Safer decide to uncover the secrets behind mystery man Mr. X, another apartment tenant.  Is he a mass murderer or does he just travel with big bulky suitcases all the time?  Excellent add to the middle grade collection and a good clean read.  Rebecca STead is a former Newbery Award winner and this book did not let me down at all.  (ISBN: 9780385737432, Release Date: 8/7/12, Random House Children's Books)

Colin Fischer is a book that completely caught me by surprise.  I wanted a copy at ALA because the cover intrigued me.  Invisible boy with pictures of different facial expressions?  I had no idea where Miller and Stentz were going with this book.  Colin Fischer has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and he is a modern day Encyclopedia Brown.  After a disaster in the school cafeteria involving an exploded birthday cake and a gun, the school immediately blames troublemaker Wayne Connelly.  But Colin is dead set that Wayne is innocent and despite Wayne's treatment of Colin in the past, he decides to prove to everyone that Wayne is innocent.  This is like reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time but more toned down.  Great for all ages and I adored Colin's voice.  (ISBN: 9781595145789, Release Date: 11/8/12, Penguin YRG)

Ungifted by Gordon Korman is every bit as perfect as every Korman novel and never disappoints.  If you're not familiar with Korman, get familiar.  His books are laugh out loud funny, at times super serious, and all together excellent reads.  Donovan Curtis is your typical troublemaker and after a very disastrous stunt, he is accidentally placed into the Academy for Scholastic Distinction for gifted and talented students.  Faking it so that he can stay out trouble, Donovan immediately sticks out like a sore thumb.  Trying desperately to fit in and to keep out of the limelight, Donovan does everything in his power to seem 'gifted' like his classmates.  Another excellent read for all ages and a great addition to all collections.  (ISBN: 9780061742668, Release date: 8/21/12, Balzer + Bray)

SIDENOTE: Liar & Spy and Colin Fischer are both available on Edelweiss!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Blogiversary! Karen's Top 10 TLT Posts

TLT is 1!

Although I began the TLT Facebook page in May of 2011, this blog went up and I did my first post on July 15th of 2011. {Insert confetti and streamers fanfare here} The first post was really just a post to say hi, and it was only uphill from there. Since that day there have been 330+ blog posts and they are no longer all done by me.  Some of them are done by my fabulous Co-Blogger Stephanie Wilkes. {Insert enthusiastic clapping here}.  Other are done by various TLT contributors, and we have had some fabulous guest blog posts by authors and librarians alike.  Today I am going to share with you my favorite 10 posts from this past year.  It was hard choosing a Top 10, but here we go . . .

Monday, July 16, 2012

2011 Wild Child Conference: Drug Use Update

Every year in September in Marion, Ohio there is a conference known as The Wild Child Conference. The goal of this conference is to keep educators and organizations that work with teens in the know about teen life, culture, and the topics that impact their lives. For the third year in a row, I have the honor of being a part of the board of the Wild Child Conference. The 2011 WCC looked at addiction in the lives of teens.  Here, local authorities gave a rundown of some of the current (current as of September 2011) drugs popular with teens.

Information about the 2012 Wild Child Conference

Interesting Note: US makes up 4.6% of the world population.
We use 80% of the opiates in the world.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins: Dealing with the Issues

Since today we are talking with author Kimberly Purcell about her book on human trafficking, Trafficked, our Friday Fill-Ins is all about the issues.  Teen fiction dealing with issues is a tried and true tradition.  So tell us, what is your favorite issues book?

My favorite book dealing with a teen issue is _______________________ by _______________________. 
It deals with the topic of _________________.

Fill in the blanks in the comments.

Fear in writing, fear in life (guest post by Kim Purcell)

Approximately 2.5 million people are forced into labor each year.
1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
95% of human trafficking victims experience physical and sexual abuse.
43% are used for forced sexual exploitation.
(Statistics from

1/3 of runaways teens are lured into sexual exploitation and trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.
95% of sex trafficking victims have been sexually abused at home.
"Survival Sex" is the practice of being coerced to provide sex in exchange for food and shelter.

The average age of entry into female prostitution in America is 12 to 14 years old.

Given these facts, it is more than time to see these stories being told in our teen fiction.  One such story is Trafficked by Kim Purcell.  Today she writes a guest blog post for TLT on fear and how she came to write her novel about human trafficking.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why YA? Ash (Malinda Lo) as discussed by Christie Gibrich

Today's Why YA? post is brought to you by TLT contributor Christie Gibrich, MLS

Why YA? Because the Shoe Fits

Meeting people for the first (or second time), and it is usually pretty predictable. Right after they find out my profession, the second question I’m always asked is, What do you read? (Comes right after It must be nice getting to read all day, huh?) And I admit, I will *try* to read just about anything. I know my library’s collection pretty well, and feel that I need to have a working knowledge of what my patrons want, so I keep up with new releases, even though Westerns, Historical Romances, and bright and chipper teen series can make me grit my teeth.

However, if you come to my house and inspect my bookcases (call first so I can pick up and dust, OK? I can’t seem to find any house elves that want to live in Texas) the shelves that hold my books are mostly fiction and run a little darker - mysteries by JD Robb and Sara Prelutsky, science fiction and fantasy by McCaffrey and Tanya Huff and Mercedes Lackey, books by Laurel K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison mixed in with the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, the earlier works of Stephen King. These are the books that I go back to time and time again, because for me they stand up to multiple reading- they’re a full Sunday supper as opposed to state fair cotton candy. And on at least two large bookcases, you will find a variety of Young Adult books. Why these YA? Because they are just as beautifully written as the fiction I’ve read, and they’ve touched a chord in me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What if Amy wasn't Pretty: a tale of censorship

As a reader, I know that story has the power to change lives.  From the moment I read It by Stephen King in the 6th grade, I knew that I wanted to be THAT type of friend.  When I read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I knew I wanted to be THAT type of a person.  You can, in fact, read about a couple of my life changing experiences as a reader here and here.

As a librarian, as someone who cares about teens, who cares about the future of the world, I count on the fact that story has the power to change lives.  I put books in the hands of teens every day and hope that they will have their Pandemonium or Ask the Passengers moment.

Book Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Dragons rule the land of fantasy, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman creates a unique fantasy world where dragons can take on human form, though not necessarily human emotion, and try to blend in.  For 40 years the land has been ruled by a shaky peace treaty between humans and dragons, but not everyone supports the treaty.  And as an upcoming gala event approaches, the signs seem to indicate that there are those out to sabotage the peace in Goredd.

"I know courage when I see it, and when I lack it.”  (from Seraphina)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top 10: Reasons you should buy Quarantine Book 1: The Loners for your library (guest post by Lex Thomas)


Because I knew I was going to make Quarantine by Lex Thomas our TLT Rec of the Week this week, I decided to invite the authors - yes, authors as Lex Thomas is actually two people - to make this week's Top 10 list of reasons why you should put their book in your library.  This is the list they came up with and, having read the book, they are absolutely right.

1. Boys will want to read it
While we think the premise of being trapped in your high school indefinitely is universally appealing, we think the action, the driving pace, and the violence in our book will attract the boys. Boys need more books, and we hope the Quarantine series can help meet that demand.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Make your mark, with a Dot

Who knew - there is an International Dot Day! September 15th (ish) they say. 

The Wild Child Conference: Teens and Sexual Addiction

Every year in September in Marion, Ohio there is a conference known as The Wild Child Conference.  The goal of this conference is to keep educators and organizations that work with teens in the know about teen life, culture, and the topics that impact their lives.  For the third year in a row, I have the honor of being a part of the board of the Wild Child Conference.  The 2011 WCC looked at addiction in the lives of teens.  Here, Jeff Grant, former pastor and now licenced counselor who works with sex addicts, talks about the impact of sexual addiction in the lives of teens.  Below is an overview of terminilogy and the 10 signs of addiction.

The 2012 Wild Child Conference information

Friday, July 6, 2012

Top 10 Trends in Teen Fiction 2012

Drum roll please . . . it is time for the 3rd annual Top 10 Trends poster.  Here is a look at some of the trends in teen fiction for 2012.

You can download the poster at

and you can follow the discussion at

Friday Fill Ins: The 1 tool . . .

In today's installment of Friday Fill Ins, we're talking tools.  Books, craft supplies, tech skills, whatever.  Fill in the blank in the comments.

The ONE tool every teen librarian needs to keep in their back pocket is _____________________.

Book Review: Lost Girls by Ann Kelley

No parents. No rules. No way home.

Set in the time of the Vietnam war, Lost Girls by Ann Kelley is the story of 14-year-old Bonnie who is living with her military family on a base in Thailand.  A group of girls, a part of the Amelia Earhart Cadets (think Girl Scouts), leave for a tropical island retreat when they are swept away by a hurricane and deposited on the wrong island by a boatman who declares it "forbidden island" before leaving them to seek help.

After a violent storm washes away most of their provisions, the girls are forced to learn to fend for themselves and in true Lord of the Flies fashion, it doesn't always bring out the best in the girls.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blogs: a 21st century tool for a 21st century world

Here's the background: I am a librarian. A living, breathing MLS degree holding librarian with 19 years of experience.  When I started as a paraprofessional, I had to go downstairs to the one computer that had the program on it to look up books in Books in Print.  Today, I find out about books mainly online.  So let's talk about blogs, shall we?  I'll show you mine (favorites that is) if you show me yours.



[blawg, blog]  noun, verb, blogged, blog·ging.
1. a Web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites. (from

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top 10: Reasons I can't wait until Fall

Drum roll please . . . some of the books that will make this fall epically awesome. Or awesomely epic. Or cool beans if you are feeling retro about it all.

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Sure, you could say I am bragging that I have a signed copy - but mostly I am saying this: Ask the Passengers is a fantastic read coming out in October and I can't wait until the world is reading this.  It is, simply stated, about a girl named Astrid learning to love and accept herself in a world that often doesn't.  It is also, in a word, genius. (October, Little, Brown)

Get Graphic Review: Giants Beware

Make way for Claudette the giant slayer in this delightful, fantastical adventure! 

Claudette’s fondest wish is to slay a giant. But her village is so safe and quiet! What’s a future giant slayer to do? With her best friend Marie (an aspiring princess), and her brother Gaston (a pastry-chef-to-be), Claudette embarks on a super-secret quest to find a giant—without parental permission. Can they find and defeat the giant before their parents find them and drag them back home? (

Felicia Day and her joyous geeky ways, a model of an online book club

So, I woke up super early this morning and didn't know what to post and was feeling amazingly uninspired.  Then, suddenly, someone (I don't remember who, sorry but thank you so much for the entertainment this morning) Tweeted about this online book group by Felicia Day called the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout.  All hail the power of the Internet.

Two things:
1) I love Felicia Day, she is a geeky gem and I love her geeky ways.  Just last night I watched her go all glitchy on the newest episode of Eureka.  Everyone should see her in the most fantabulous Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing A Long Blog.
2) I didn't name it that, sorry to those with more delicate sensibilities.

So I spent the morning doing extensive research for you (you're welcome), and am really impressed with the format and think to myself - self, this would be a great way to do a book discussion group with teens and create some online content.  I'm not going to lie, it would be helpful to have some good personalities involved.  You may have noticed, but I am not a particularly funny person.  But we all know and love some teens who wear snark well, get them involved.  Bonus points if you can get them to read the book, too.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

"They came in the night.  Once, families fought them, neighbors coming to their aid. But now that peace has been established, and the looms proven, girls pray to be retried. They still come at night, but now it's to avoid the masses with eager hands.  It's a blessing to touch a Spinster as she passes. That's what they tell us." (Opening paragraph, Crewel by Gennifer Albin)

I first found out about the book Crewel from Margot Wood, the Real Fauxtographer.  I had no idea at the time that she did her photograph that Crewel was not yet published and was confused because I hadn't heard of it.  Then, when we asked Gennifer Albin to be a part of the It Came from a Book contest, I thought I should try and read the book.  I had no idea what to expect and had little knowledge of the plot, but I dove right in.

Let me start right now by saying this: I love science fiction.  Not just dystopian, but complex world building science fiction that defies imagination - and I have been waiting all year for some amazing science fiction.  Not just good science fiction, but holy crap jaw dropping intricately developed science fiction.  And in Crewel, I have finally found this year's masterpiece.

VolunTEEN Nation

Today we have a guest post from Simone, a founding member of Volunteen Nation.  Volunteen Nation is was created by teens, for teens to encourage volunteering and help teens find places to volunteer.  Then, stop over and read about my library teen volunteer program here.

If every library had a young adult librarian like Betsy Simmons, we truly would be a nation of readers.  At a young age, my passion for reading and exploring the library was ignited and sustained by our incredible children’s and young adult librarian.  Ms. Simmons and her staff find ways for every teen to get the most benefit from the Richmond Heights Public Library.  She creates captivating displays and offers outstanding summer reading programs, workshops and programs to attract youth. And she offered me my first volunteer opportunity at the age of 12.

Volunteens at my library

Since today we have a guest post from the VolunTEEN Nation, I thought I would take a moment to tell you about my teen volunteer program and why I think every library should have one.

Hooray for teen volunteers!

I did not create my teen volunteer program, I inherited it - but I love it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Celebrate FREADOM

It makes sense, but the 4th of July always gets me thinking about Banned Books Week (usually the last week in September). Now is a great time to start planning what you want to do.

At the bare minimum, I recommend doing a display. But you can also do things like read ins, contests and more. I like the idea of setting up a "photo booth" and have teens get their pictures taken reading a banned book.

Whatever you are planning, here are some posters to help get you in the spirit. You can share them electronically or use them in your library.

You can also find some Banned Books Week posters I made for Chris Crutcher last year at

Celebrate your freedom to read this 4th of July and read!