Monday, January 29, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - I Am the Messenger

I just finished Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger. I'm rapidly becoming a Zusak fan. I really liked The book Thief, too. I Am the Messenger has some mature subject matter, so I'd recommend it for high school, not middle school students. Even without the subject matter issues, a really young person just wouldn't relate to this one. It's particularly good for teenagers who seem to be drifting, without feeling like they have a purpose in life, or for adults going through a mid-life crisis. The most politically correct way to describe Ed, the main character, would be chronic underachiever. He's actually very bright and well-read, but he's just getting by in life with no real purpose or direction. His life changes when he is in the bank during an armed robbery and has a moment of extreme bravery/stupidity that gives him his 15 minutes of fame as a hero. A short time later, he receives an ace of diamonds in the mail with 3 addresses written on it, but no further explanation. He realizes that someone wants him to fix something at each address, but he's on his own to figure out what and how. This one would make a good book discussion selection. It leaves you thinking about your effect on the world around you, and how little it can sometimes take to make a difference. The ending is also interesting because depending on how you look at things, some people might think that the author explained who was sending Ed messages, but I thought it was open to some debate. For the right audience, I'd highly recommend it. I stayed up a bit later than I should have a few nights because I just had to read a little more. The last couple of books I've read hadn't done that for me.

Washington Heights Visit

I had the distinct pleasure of making my annual trek to Washington Heights Elementary School this morning to booktalk and read to their 5th graders, as they kick off their RIF activities. The highpoint of my visit was actually finding a kid who had read Philip Pullman's I Was a Rat. I love that book and try to talk it up whenever I can. When you tell people the title, and even when you try to explain it, people look at you like you're nuts. It's strange but it's a great book for book discussions and you could use it for a lot of age levels, even adults. Apparently there's another slightly warped person out there talking this book up. Whoever it is, bless you!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More New Series and Sequels

Hey, they keep coming. A few more series and sequels hit my desk this morning including the sequel ti Scott Westerfeld's Peeps. For more info see New YA Books: More Sequels and Series .

DDR and Guitar Hero a Hit

Last Friday's "Celebrate the End of Mid-Terms" DDR and Guitar Hero afternoon went over quite well. 21 kids showed up, most staying the entire 4 hours. With no tournament pressure everyone just had fun. It was great to see one kid playing DDR at expert level with the kid on the pad next to him playing on novice level and everyone just having a good time. We also got to watch someone who was quite good, playing 2 pads at once. Anyway... things went so well that we'll probably try offering open play one Friday afternoon a month after school. Watch here for more info. And if you missed it, here are a few photos.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More New Stuff - Sequels and Series

I'm slowly picking away at those new books. For a little detail on the series and sequels, including The Prophet of Yonwood, the prequel to The City of Ember, go to New YA Books: New Sequels and Series Installments .

What Mrs. N.'s Been Reading - The Night My Sister Went Missing

I just finished Carol Plum-Ucci's latest book, The Night My Sister Went Missing. I'm a big fan of one of her other books, The Body of Christopher Creed (I haven't read What Happened to Lani Garver or The She - no idea why, just never got around to them) so I grabbed this one as soon as it came in. The basic premise is that a girl went over the edge of an old burned-out pier during a party after a gun was fired. The gun was being passed around and no one seems to know who had it last. The gun has disappeared and so has the narrator's sister Casey, the girl who went over the pier. Was she shot? Did she dive off as a daredevil prank? Who pulled the trigger? Were they aiming at Casey or was it an accident? During the course of the night various theories are floated during police interrogations, secrets are revealed and the story takes a number of twists. It's a quick read, that keeps you turning the pages.

Monday, January 15, 2007

YA Audiobooks Now Available!

We finally got some funds to purchase YA audiobooks. Yea!! They are being shelved temporarily on the octagonal display unit right down by the YA collection. For now I'm getting them in regular CD format to be compatible with as many players as possible, but Once the collection gets off the ground I'll start adding some MP3s. Here's a list of what's in, processed, and available now. More are on the way.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

More of That New Stuff

Here are a few more of those new books that have been pouring in, including Kino No Tabi, An Innocent Soldier, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. For a little more detail see New YA Books: More New Stuff .

Friday, January 12, 2007

Lots of New Books In

Those first-order-of-the-year books are starting to stream in. Lots of good stuff, including the newest Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this one called Forever in Blue (and the hold list isn't too long yet!) For details see New YA Books: Tons of New Stuff .