Friday, May 29, 2009

LibrariYAn's First Contest: The Catching Fire Giveaway!

As you may recall, I've been plotting since January on how to acquire an ARC of Catching Fire Suzanne Collins' sequel to the SLJ Battle of the Books-winning The Hunger Games.. The actual book won't be released until September 1st, and I knew that that was just too long to wait for greatness. So there I was at BEA today, and what do you know, I was able to acquire not one, but TWO copies of the ARC! Of course, I don't need two copies. I only need one, so I'm giving one away!

Have I piqued your interest? If so, read on for the details on whatcha need to do to win. If not, what is wrong with you that you don't want an ARC of Catching Fire? You clearly have your priorities in disarray! But I digress...

The Prize: Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Suzanne Collins' novel Catching Fire (sequel to The Hunger Games) AND a mocking jay button*

The Winner: The person who gets the most *new* people to comment on my blog by midnight on Monday, June 1st. Tell everyone you know about LibrariYAn and get them to leave a comment on this post. Make sure you get credit for the comment by also having them include your name as the person who did the referral. (Sample comment might be "Love your blog! Stacy told me how much she loves your posts and that I just *had* to pop over and start reading. I'm so glad I did, and will keep coming back. I too loved The Hunger Games!"). I get new readers, and the person with the most referrals wins a cool prize. Sound fair? Good!

Looking forward to a few new readers!

* similar to the one Katniss wears, but obvi not as cool, since it's just a round black and yellow button and not a classy gold pin.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Have a Serious Problem With Cat Videos on YouTube

Thank you Best Week Ever for feeding my cat video addiction.

Review in Two Three: Castration Celebration

Castration Celebration is a oft raunchy romp through theatre camp, where the drama isn't limited to the stage. As campers develop in their crafts, make and lose friends, deal with family issues and of course, keep their hormones in check (or not), the real drama - and comedy - unfolds. This crude and clever play within a novel is a fun summer read for the high school set that's so over High School Musical.

Castration Celebration
by Jake Wizner
Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 26, 2009

Other juicy bits on this novel:
Dirty Books, Done Dirt Cheap from Carlie at Librarilly Blonde
Dirty Teen Tale is a Cut Below from Andrea Peysner at the New York Post


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Long Time, No Blog

So I've been travelling (first to Italy on my belated honeymoon and then to Denver for a friend's wedding) and haven't posted a new blog in about two weeks. I'm back in the world of interweb connections, and it turns out that life hasn't stopped while I was away.

And now it's time for a recap:

The Hunger Games wins! Theeeeeee Hunger Games wins...SLJ's Battle of the Books

YALSA contemplates the virtues of extending the definition of "young adult" to include actual young adults. LibrariYAn is intrigued (I've talked about this before). Librarilly Blonde disagrees.

Rutgers SCILS minted a batch of new librarians, including Librarian Boredom's Sara, Purple Polka's Kristi(e) (who also unveiled a saucy new blog look) and, of course, yours truly! Congratulations to all the new librarians!

Summit Entertainment releases the "official" New Moon posters, which actually feature Jacob! (Thanks to Best Week Ever for the link.)

In a case of "is it real or is it not?," a "teen" is running a banned book library (sans Twilight) from his/her locker. Cue librarians arguing over whether a possible fake teen with a fake banned book locker library helps or hurts the library profession and the cause of banned books. Really?

And coming up this week, Alicia goes to BEA with the sole intent and purpose of getting an ARC of Catching Fire. I'm sure I'll get a slew more ARCs that I'll love and devour, and yes, I'm meeting up with several friends, and that's great and all, but let's be honest: Katniss is my real reason for attending.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest!

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!

In preparation for my new role as a middle school librarian, I've been scouring the Internet for resources to utilize with my faculty and students. One of the coolest and most intriguing things that I've come across is The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest, a creation of YA author Kay Cassidy.

The deets:
  • Middle grade and YA authors - ranging from the smaller, lesser known to the more well-known - create 10-question scavenger hunts for one or more of their books (booklist and questions available on the site)

  • Librarians register their libraries and promote the contest to their teens (promotional materials and suggestions included on the site)

  • Teens choose any book from the list, and give it a read

  • Teens answer the questions and turn 'em in to the librarian

  • Teens who answer 8 of 10 questions correctly are entered into a contest to win a $50 bookstore gift card

  • Every month, one teen wins

  • If one of your teens win, you get a tote filled with books, and they get to buy books!

I'm particularly excited about bringing this to my school since the outgoing librarian already told me how much the sixth graders enjoy the annual library scavenger hunt. I'm seeing this contest as a possible segue from that lesson to a less formal, optional, student-driven activity. Woot!

It seems fun and easy, and a great way to get kids reading, and turn their attention to books other than those on the best-seller lists. Obviously, I'll play a role in that as well, but I think that this contest will be a great springboard. Maybe it'll even inspire students to create scavenger hunts for their favorite books, which others can complete for fun (maybe even prizes?).

What activities/contests do you do with your teens? Have you heard of other promotions or had any cool ideas of your own to get teens reading?

Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the link!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Twilight Zone:...And After the Breaking Dawn There Was a Russett Noon?

After the twilight, a new moon is obscured by an eclipse. Then a breaking dawn threatens to end it all. But, after the sun leaves the dawn behind to rise to its zenith, a russet noon begins with a new adventure...

So fanfic writer LadySybilla wrote her own book, Russet Noon, which continues the Twilight saga from Jacob's point of view. She went out and got herself an ISBN and started pre-selling the novel, complete with "accidentally" stolen cover art (see image, copyright Charli Sieger, 2004, on left) on the Internet back in early March for the low, low price of $9.99.

But oops! Seems nobody explained the finer points of copyright law to LadySybilla. She was under the impression that it was perfectly permissable to take Stephenie Meyer's characters, put them in her own book, and make money buckets of money. Once it was brought to her attention that that's now how it works, she seems to have consulted with some lawyers who basically said "Um, duh!" and she pulled the book and now plans to release it for free on the Internet, one chapter at a time, beginning in September.

I don't even know what to say about this other than:

1. How did I totally miss this until Leila over at Bookshelves of Doom brought it to my attention?

2. Did LadySybilla really not think there was anything wrong with this?

3. Does LadySybilla really think that Stephenie Meyer would be ok with this and that "she laughs at the whole situation," as she stated in this interview?

4. Is anyone else so intrigued by this controversy that they're actually looking for to September and the chance to read the first chapter

For more on the Russet Noon controversy, check out:

...the "Official" website, which sadly, has mostly been taken down due to that pesky copyright thing.

...the history of the controversy as extensively chronicled and footnoted on (and where I did much of my research for this post).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reaching Reluctant Readers with the Bluford Series

I'll be honest and start this post out with an acknowledgement that I have never actually read any of the Bluford Series. From what I understand, they're a HiLo (high interest, low reading level) series designed for urban middle and high schoolers. The books depict characters in situations reflective of the urban experience - choosing between earning an honest buck or turning to dealing, staying in school or dropping out, the dangers of gang violence.

Even though I haven't read any of them myself* I can attest to knowing many urban teachers who use this series with their middle school students. And the kids LOVE these books. They can't get enough of them. The most reluctant of readers in my friend Jonathan's sixth grade special education class absolutely devours these books and anxiously awaits new titles. And Jonathan's not the only one who's experienced success with this series. Middle school librarian Sara Stevenson shares the story of her Bluford High Boys in a comic retelling about her Bluford High Book Club.

Oh, and did I mention that they cost only $1 each? Or that there's a Teacher's Guide (which sells or $15 on its own, but is also available in the boxed set, which includes all 15 titles for only $20?) Or that the publisher, Townsend Press, also publishes a collection of classics that also cost only $1 each? Now there's a gateway drug on which we should all hope to get our teens hooked.
Which leads me to ask, as I'll be starting at a middle school library in the fall...What books are your reluctant readers - suburban, urban or rural - reluctant to put down?
* I'm planning to purchase multiple box sets for the resource room I'm managing this summer and will read the series during my off/down time - pending the books are actually checked-in, which I'm sure they won't be, because the middle schoolers of Chicago will love them, and I'm not one to put myself between a teen and his/her reading.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Octavian Ain't Got Nothing on These Games

It's the final countdown! (cue 80s action movie montage featuring books training for competition, clad in headbands and sweats, running, working the speed bag, etc. - you know the drill)

Wednesday's match-up decides the winner of SLJ's Battle of the Books, and judge Lois Lowry better not screw it up!

Er, um, what I mean is...I sure hope Lois Lowry gets as sucked into Katniss's story as I did, so that she just can't help but award this suspense-filled novel the prize it deserves.

I'm sure Octavian Nothing is a great book, and I even had it bracketed to make it this far into the competition, but it's time for Octavian to get on the boat and head home. No, I haven't read it. I meant to. I checked the first one out of the library (twice, actually!), but just never got around to actually reading it. It'll happen this summer. Promise. I'm sure John Green is disappointed in me, but I lent him my computer last week and I'm going to subscribe to his vlog, so I think we're even.

But that's not even the point. The point is that Katniss and District 12 deserve this win, and I can think of at least two teens who agree.

Monday, May 4, 2009

See Ya, Pals!

The Parade of Awesome marches on...

Last week the parade route traveled to Long Branch, NJ to the NJLA Conference where I learned lots about Tweens from self-proclaimed (deservedly so, might I add) Goddess of YA, Teri Lesesne, fandom and vlogging and heard words of wisdom from a "new to me" YA author that I'm determined must date my sister.

Today I went back to Long Branch and ran. A lot.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Italy, where I'll be belatedly honeymooning for the next two weeks. I'm packing a few books for the plane (including Soul Enchilada, Flygirl, Castration Celebration, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) so hopefully some reviews will follow.

In the meantime, I've set up a few posts to keep you company while I'm gone. Alas, I was only able to crank out enough to satiate your blog thirst through next Sunday. As such, there'll be some radio silence ahead, but don't worry, I'll be back soon!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Review in Two: Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson

Despite growing up only a few miles apart, Dani and Amanda have never met and have lived very different lives: surgeries and loneliness for one and athletic and academic accomplishments for the other. When their lives unexpectedly collide, the two girls just may end up sharing more in common than anyone could imagine, and readers are taken along on a journey of healing, friendship and sacrifice that will lead them to laugh and cry.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart
by Jill Wolfson
Release Date: March 31, 2009
ARC supplied by publisher

I received this ARC back in early March, but had a bunch of other books that I had to read first. When it arrived I took a cursory glance at the cover, noting the title and art, and didn't even bother to flip it over to read the jacket copy. I made an assessment based on the above that the book was just another teen novel about either vampires or werewolves or both, and that I'd get around to it later. I judged a book by its cover, and darn it, I was wrong. It was only when the processed book arrived at the library ready for shelving that I flipped it over and found out I was wrong. How was I to know it would turn out to be a gripping realistic fiction novel telling the literally heart-wrenching tale of one family's loss that would give other families a second chance at life?

Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I began reading as my flight took off from Newark and didn't stop until I finished, reading almost my entire flight to Houston. This isn't your typical YA realistic fiction focusing on heartbreak. It wasn't the finest piece of young adult literature that I've ever read, but it was a compelling story and I really found myself invested in Dani's character and pulling for her both to romantically (Yes, there's a cute, angst ridden teenage boy in need of a liver!) and medically. It felt honest and true, and I liked that it wasn't treading over those same old plot lines - tragic accidents, teenage suicide and the like - that lately, it seems, have bit written to death (no pun intended). This was a story about loss, but more so about hope.

Oh, and the story was also chock full o' organ transplant information! This both intrigued me and left me pondering a bit about those individuals - children, parents, brothers, sisters - awaiting organ donation, and how I might be able to give the gift of life by becoming an organ donor*. I can see teens reading this and getting involved in promoting organ donation, taking a step back against how they may see/treat other teens who are chronically ill and in need of organ or tissue donation, or even just inspire someone to give blood. If you're interested in learning more (and you will be after you read this book!), check out organizations like Donate Life America (which also sponsors this touching and educational site), UNOS or the government's website for more information.

* Full disclosure: I went to the MVC last week to renew and spent several minutes going back and forth about whether or not to identify myself as an organ donor. I ultimately decided against identifying myself as an organ donor on my license, because I once saw an episode of ER (or maybe it's an urban legend?) that convinced me that if something horrible happened to me and I wound up in critical condition and my license said I was an organ donor, that doctors would let me die in order to get my organs. It's stuck with me and made me quite paranoid. And yes, I realize that's ridiculous. That said, I fully intend to make sure my family knows that despite what my license says, I do want to donate my organs.