Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Multi-Posting @ JLG Shelf Life

So where do I write when I'm not posting here? I'm posting on JLG- Shelf Life. As part of my new JLG job, we decided that to be the true librarian's partner, I would offer my insight and expertise on all functions of the library world, not just about the books. Part of the plan is that I will write 2 to 3 times a week. My co-conspirators will write as the muse hits them and the keeper of time allows it.

So, who writes with me? Susan Marston is the JLG Editorial Director in New York. Susan has been selecting books for Junior Library Guild for a few years shy of half her life and even after all this time, finds that the work never grows old. (Talk about a job with pressure!) Susan will write about the choices the editorial team is making and about children's book publishing in general. (Except for the big dark secrets that she is under blood oath not to tell)

Leslie Bermel, whom many of you know, is our resident book talker. Leslie came to Junior Library Guild 11 years ago and travels throughout the country talking with thousands of librarians each year. Last year she gave 100 presentations across the country. Since I've been here in the last 4 weeks, I've seen her twice (her desk is upstairs). Leslie will be our spy and give us Reflections From the Road.

And me, I'll be writing about all things library. I'll try to try to be the scout for what's happening in our world. So from time to time, I'll write here, but if you want to keep up on a more frequent basis, check out the Shelf Life blog. No, you don't have to be a member, but don't you want to be?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Three Times Lucky

 Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. How could you not pick up a book with a cover like this? Then you read the first sentence- " Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt. Almost before the dust had settled, Mr. Jesse turned up dead and life in Tupelo Landing turned upside down."

I'm sold from the first sentence and the book just gets better. Full of quick wit and humor, mystery and mayhem, this novel for upper elementary will have readers turning those pages.  Plenty of trouble waits for Mo (ses) and Dale (Earnhardt Johnson III) with lots of red herrings to steer them astray. Mo is an orphan who washed up in a storm eleven years ago and was found by The Colonel, who had lost his memory. When Mr. Jesse is found dead, Mo and Dale decide to solve the murder themselves. So when Dale is also a suspect and the Colonel goes missing, things just get complicated.

Know that in addition to murder, the story also touches briefly on alcoholism and domestic violence. Without giving away the resolution, know that you'll be pleasantly surprised in the end. Mo will steal your heart and give you a laugh along the way.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bird Talk: What Birds are Saying and Why

Have you ever heard birds outside your window and wondered what they're saying? Maybe you've been at the zoo and seen some dancing and prancing and wondered what that's all about. Then Bird Talk is the book for you. Lita Judge, granddaughter of ornithologists, has written about her love of birds and what they do to communicate.

This fascinating look into bird behavior will have you spouting off facts to anyone who will listen. I, myself, jumped right to the online databases to do a little research of my own. Indian Sarus Cranes mate for life. They do a wonderful ballet on the surface of the water, bowing and leaping. Western Grebes also dance on the water's surface with their mates. The Blue Bird of Paradise hangs upside down to attract his mate.

Birds also communicate to protect their young. The North American Killdeer screams and flaps a "broken" wing to lure a fox from her eggs. They communicate to stay safe. The American Bittern silences its loud, booming voice when danger is near and sits "still as a stone."

Some birds listen and learn. Northern mockingbirds can mimic other birds or even cell phone rings. Alex the parrot learned 150 words, could name objects and count to six.

Lita finishes her informational picture book by giving more facts about the birds in this book. Go ahead and do what I did. Look it up. It's true. And while you're there, look for videos. You can see see Grebes dance and Sarus Cranes ballet. Better grab a tissue- it's amazing.