Importance of Mentorship

At my first library job, I had no idea what I was doing. I hadn’t worked in a public library before and felt lost. I was blessed that another librarian, John A., took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I learned a lot working with him and try to still be like him today.

At my first full-time job, I didn’t have immediate mentors, but I found them. Again, they helped me navigate the world of children’s librarianship, something I knew very little about. At meetings, I met other librarians who I would contact with questions. Then I found social media. It’s been a great source for me, even now, 20 years into my career. I can ask any question and get an answer.

Recently, my job title was changed and I was once more lost in a new world. A librarian at another library has been an amazing mentor in this past year. I definitely would not know nearly as much about Local History without her.

Mentorship is so key in any job. If you don’t have a mentor in your building, go online and find one. No matter how long we are at this job, we will always need support and help. I’ve done what I can to pay it forward and mentor new librarians in any way that I can.

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Long Way Down Intro

My library system and the neighboring system held our Annual Mock Printz today. I was given the honor of introducing Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.

Here is my introduction:

Will has known about the rules ever since his childhood friend was killed on the playground, and he’s followed the first two: no crying, and no snitching. When his older brother, Shawn, is shot and killed while walking home from the store, Will knows he is expected to follow the final rule and avenge his brother’s death. He knows where Shawn keeps his gun, and he thinks he knows who the shooter is. Even if Will has never used a gun—never even held a gun before—rules are rules. But in the elevator on the way down, Will encounters family and friends who died playing by the rules, and now Will has to decide what he is going to do when the elevator reaches its final stop.

Kirkus wrote: Told in free-verse poems, this is a raw, powerful, and emotional depiction of urban violence. The structure of the novel heightens the tension, as each stop of the elevator brings a new challenge until the narrative arrives at its taut, ambiguous ending.

In an interview with NPR, Reynolds said, “What I wanted to do in telling a tale about gun violence is not create one-dimensional characters that fall into cliches, and so I think what we can do with devices, like using ghosts of the past, is we can create a space where the author doesn’t have to teach a lesson. Instead, it’s about us, thinking about those of our family members and our friends who we’ve already lost to this thing, and allow their haunting to be the thing that creates our psyche and our conscience.”

Though the setting of the book is an elevator, the stories the ghosts tell take you outside, into the gritty streets where violence is a daily event. Will’s voice & thoughts shine through the sparse writing. His grief is raw and palpable. As each ghost enters, Will begins to really think about what he is about to do. His desire to follow the rules vs. the pull of the ghosts is a raw battle throughout the novel, one with an open ending. The starkness of the book pulls the reader in immediately and the Will’s grief is heart wrenching.  My question for all of you is: you coming?

Complete Book Riot Reader Harder Challenge

As I am only 50 pages from finishing the last book of this challenge, I thought I would write all of them out for you (again):

Book about Sports: Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin

Debut Novel:  Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Book about Books: Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

Set in Central/South America written by Central/South American Author : Lost City Radio by Daniel Alacron

By an Immigrant with Immigration Narrative: Inside Out & Back Again by Thannha Lai

All-Ages Comic: BC Mambo by Erik Craddock

Published between 1900-1950: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Travel Memoir: Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul

Book I’ve Read Before: One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

100 Miles of My Location: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

More than 5000 Miles from My Location: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Fantasy Novel: Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire

Book about Technology: Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Book about War: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

YA/Middle grade by author who identifies as LGBTQ+: History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Banned/Frequently Challenged: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Classic by an Author of Color: Go Tell it on a Mountain by James Baldwin

Superhero Comic with Female Lead: Faith: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser

Character of Color goes on a Spiritual Journey: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

LGBTQ+ Romance: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by  Sara Farizan

Published by a Micropress: Game World by C. J. Farley

Collection of Stories by a Woman: Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro

Collection of Poetry in Translation on a Theme Other than Love:       Neruda at Isla Negra by Pablo Neruda

All Point-of-View Characters are People of Color: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

I already printed out the 2018 Challenge. I can’t wait to do it again!

 

Catch-up Time

I’ve established I won’t be one of those book bloggers who posts at least once a week, gets cool swag from publishers, and has a ton of followers and I’m OK with that. It has been a very long time since I last posted, so here’s a catch-up of what I’ve read since then.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy                                                                          What can I say about this book that so many people haven’t already? Ramona is stuck. She lives in a trailer with her dad and her

Crash Override by Zoe Quinn                                                                      Her account of what happened to her is terrifying and disturbing. What was done to her was completely awful. That was able to overcome it and speak out is a testament to her strength. Now she helps others in her shoes.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera                                                My only quibble about this book is that it took too long for the two characters to get together, especially considering the plot of the book. I loved both boys and everything else about the book.

Black Beauty by Anna Seawald                                                                        I’ve never read this classic before. I liked the horse’s point of view. It’s definitely pro-animal and about being a good person and being virtuous, but I see nothing wrong with that. It made me love horses even more.

Game World by CJ Farley                                                                                   I wanted to love this book. A diverse cast of kids gets sucks into the world of a video game. The plot was a little slow, some of the dialogue was really stilted, and the grammar and wording needed some help. It’s a good story. I just wanted it to be great.

Lazarus vol. 1-3 by Greg Rucka                                                                    Dystopian world. Powerful families rule the sections of the globe. Each has a Lazarus who can’t be killed. Forever wants nothing more than her family’s love and approval. She will do anything for them, believe anything they tell her. I can’t wait to see how this progresses

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park                                                                    I want to take Tree-Ear home and feed him, clothe hi, and house him. His relationship with Crane-Man is so beautiful and so special. This was a sweet and wonderful look into historic Korea.

Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green                                                This was a heart-wrenching read of her life. It is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve dealt with eating disorders or sexual abuse, be careful reading this, it can definitely trigger a lot of things. I could not put it down.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds                                                  Another gorgeous book by Jason Reynolds. This one is his first book in verse and it takes place in one elevator ride. The power behind the words, short are they are, are unbelievable.

Spining by Tillie Walden                                                                                    A graphic memoir of a girl’s life of ice skating. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t speak to me as much as I thought I would.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng                                                            I love love love Pearl. Her relationship with the Richardson family is a great one. Elena Richardson is quite the characters. I wasn’t her biggest fan, but she was written in a way that the reader shouldn’t like her. I do want to read the other book by this author.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer                                                                             A retelling of the Queen of Hearts origin story. It’s a great fractured fairy tale and a feel good version of a character that ends up evil at the end. I love Marissa Meyer and I was not disappointed by this title.

What I’ve Read Lately

I have been very slack at posting (I really need to work on it more). Instead of trying recall details of some of the books I’ve recently read, I thought I would list them here and add some thoughts.

Enjoy!

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: A modern take on the Cinderella fairy tale involving a movie, a fan convention, and a food truck. Told by both the hero and heroine of the story, it shows how they connect and fall for each other without meeting or knowing who each other is. I enjoyed the plot device and what happens when they finally meet. The stepmother was a tad too mean for my liking; she was truly an awful woman who was horrible to Ellie. It’s sad to think that people like her exist.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: What can I possibly say about this amazing book? Eliza has a hidden life, one on two others know about. She likes it that way. She doesn’t have many friends, but then Wallace enters her life. I love Wallace more than I can say. They slowly stumble into a relationship. When her secret is finally revealed, she is devastated and lost. It takes Wallace to bring her back and begin to accept both sides of herself. Francesca is somehow able to encompass every emotion in her books which leaving you feeling emotionally drained after reading, but so glad you did.

When We Collided by Emery Lord: Jonah is struggling. His Dad died and his mom has holed herself up in her room. He has so much on his shoulders; working at the restaurant his father owned, worrying is the restaurant will stay open, and taking care of his many siblings. He barely has any time to process his grief. Vivi is only there for the summer. She is a total free spirit who cannot cope with a recent diagnosis. She blows into Jonah’s life and upends it for the better. He, in turn, stabilizes her and helps her realize she needs help. Theirs is a fleeting romance, but so well told. Two broken people finding comfort and happiness with each other for a summer. Who could ask for anything more?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: This was my classic read for the summer. It’s a wonderful story of a young girl growing up in poverty in Brooklyn. Her father is an alcoholic and her Mother works herself to the bone to feed them and get them heat. In fact, Francie and her younger brother get jobs as soon as they are able to help the family out. There is a lot of casual racism in this book that took me aback, but it makes sense due to the time period it was written in.

Lazarus Volume 1 by Greg Rucka: I have read Rucka’s version of Wonder Woman and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for this graphic novel. I was not disappointed. This first volume introduces Forever Carlyle, the Lazarus of her family. Basically, she can’t die. There is a secret about her that she is unaware of, so I am hoping that comes out in later volumes to see how she deals with it. The setting is a very bleak dystopian world and there is a lot of violence in this particular story. Her family, save for her father, are horrible people. I can’t wait to read more.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp: This tale of a school shooting told by different points of view is haunting and gripping. I saw a few reviews that they didn’t like that they made the shooter so one-dimensional. I disagree. This isn’t his story. It’s the story of the students who have to experience it and try to survive. Each character is fully fleshed out and enough background of each is given that I connected to them right away. There are some happy endings and some not-so happy endings for each character.

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel: Steve is an ordinary boy with a very sick brother. When he is visited by what he thinks is an angel who offers to fix him, Steve says yes. What he doesn’t realize at first is that saying yes was the worst possible thing he could do. The angel isn’t an angel. It’s a special wasp who plans horrible things for Steve’s baby brother. How Steve deals with this fear and his worry about his brother is very believable. Steve comes into his own during this short novel. While it wasn’t very spooky for me, I could see how middle grade students might find it so.

It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas: Cindy is an immigrant from Iran in 1970’s America. Just newly moved to a new neighborhood, Cindy struggles to find friends and fit in. She’s frustrated by her mother’s lack of interest in learning to speak English and is annoyed she always has to play translator. After one failed attempt, Cindy meets a great group of friends that make her feel welcome. Then the Iran Hostage crisis begins. Notes are left on their doorstep, her father loses his job, and they live in constant worry for their family in Iran. This is a great book to hand a child to help them understand that time period from a different point of view. Cindy is a typical girl, all she wants to do is fit in. How she goes about it is a wonderful story.

Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey: This is a great read about family and its bonds. Eldest daughter Caroline’s husband has recently left her. Instead of having to face her fellow Manhattanites, she takes her oldest daughter back to Georgia to live with her mother to give birth. Her two sisters decide to join her. The mother, Ansley, suddenly has to cope with a full house and the return of a lost love. The chapters are told from Caroline and Ansley’s point of view. Caroline is hysterical. She loves her husband, but she definitely planned to marry someone with money. She enjoys spending her days eating, shopping, and going to the spa. Having to slow down and do nothing has her re-evaluating her life and what she wants from it. Ansley lost her husband years ago and raised her children by opening her own store. It wasn’t always easy, but she learned how to make it. When the love from her past returns, Ansley doesn’t know what to do. It’s easier for her to be alone than to let someone else in. I loved both their stories and I cannot wait to read the novels about the other two sisters.

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

I thought I would share what books I’ve read for the 2017 BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge:

Book about sports: Undefeated by Steven Sheinkin

Debut novel: Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

By an Immigrant with a central immigration narrative: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

All-Ages Comic: BC Mambo by Erik Craddock

Published between 1900 and 1950: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Travel Memoir: Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul

Book You’ve Read Before: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Set within 100 miles of my location: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Fantasy Novel: Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire

Non-Fiction book about Technology: Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Book about war: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

YA/Middle grade by author who identifies as LGBTQ: History is all You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Banned/Challenged book: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Classic by an author of color: Go tell it on a Mountain by James Baldwin

Superhero comic with female lead: Faith: Hollywood & Vine by Jody Houser

Which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

LGBTQ+ romance: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Collection of stories by a woman: Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro

Collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love: Neruda at Isla Negra by Pablo Neruda

Wherein all points-of-view characters are people of color: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Still to read:

Book about books – I plan to read Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

Set in Central/South America by a Central/South American author – nothing picked

500 miles from my location – nothing picked

Published by a micropress – I have three to choose from, but haven’t decided which one

Pax

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be – with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.

This small book packs a huge emotional wallop. The friendship between Pax and Peter goes beyond pet and owner; they know they belong together. The book also tackles the subject of war and its atrocities in a not-so subtle way, but without coming across as pedantic.

I didn’t like the main basis of the plot. Having Peter’s father make him put Pax back into the wild doesn’t make much sense to me. There were other ways the author could have separated the two, but that is my only quibble with the novel. My heart broke at that scene and I rooted for them to find each other the entire novel. I enjoyed seeing Pax meet up with other foxes and learn what it’s like to live in the wild. Pax definitely comes into his own helping the other foxes. He discovers his true fox side and it’s a delight to see. Peter also grows as he goes in search of his friend.

I don’t want to spoil the end, but it was definitely bittersweet.

Rating: 4/5