Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Book Blog 1: And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three  

Authors: Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Copyright Date: June 1, 2005

Age Range: 4-8 Years

Lexile Level: 720

Notable Awards:
ALA Notable Children's Book in 2006
ASPCA's Henry Bergh Award in 2005

And Tango Makes Three is a 32 page picture book about two male penguins, Roy and Silo, that fall in love at the Central Park Zoo. The couple soon realize that they would like to start a family like the other penguins around them so, with the help of zookeeper Gramsay, they hatch an egg together. The result is a little girl penguin named Tango. The book shows that the family is like every other one at the zoo- living, playing, and sleeping together. The watercolor illustrations throughout the book are very detailed and the passages on each page are no more than a paragraph in length.

My Review:
I had initially read this picture book years ago when it first came out because there was such hype about it being banned in schools and libraries. Despite it being 12 years later, it is still a hot button issue with many individuals that this book depicts two gay penguins. I personally think that the book is adorable and simply represents a loving family. Not only is it depicting an "alternative" family, but it is also giving some information about chinstrap penguins and their mating rituals. The only thing I found disappointing was not with the book itself, but finding out that after it was written, the two penguins actually separated and found different partners.

Similar works: 
Heather Has Two Mommies- Leslea Newman (A now classic LGBTQ picture book about a little girl growing up with lesbian mothers.)

Stella Brings the Family- Miriam B. Schiffer (A picture book about a little girl who decides to bring her two fathers to her school's Mother's Day celebration.)

I Am Jazz- Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings (A true life picture book about growing up as a transgender child.)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Week 16 Prompt:

I feel like the biggest thing that has changed for me in regards to books is that I have less time as an adult to indulge in reading. When I was younger, especially in my teens, I would spend hours curled under a blanket with a stack of books next to me. I could go through 5-10 books in a weekend. Now, unless something is assigned like in this class, I can hardly get through a book a month. I work full-time and have far too much to read for school, plus I need to make time for family and friends. I usually get to read before I go to bed at night. I loved that we got to read five books this semester of our choosing because I was able to finally pick up books that I had been wanting to read for years. I understand that I can listen to books while I'm driving or doing other things, but as I described in a previous post, I have done that and it's just not my cup of tea. Unless I'm holding a book in my hands (yes, a real physical book!) I have a hard time focusing on the story.

With that being said, I feel that books and how we read them has already changed dramatically and I believe it will continue to change. Even if I don't particularly like it, right now, we can read pretty much wherever we are with the use of electronic devices such as e-readers and even our phones. We can also carry around hundreds and thousands of books and it weighs less than a pound. For those that are already avid readers, this is wonderful. For those that aren't, that is where I believe we will start to have interactive books, perhaps something that takes you into that world, like a video game would. This would encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book. As far as publishing- that has already changed as well. People are downloading a lot of their books on e-readers and now people can self-publish in e-formats and hence, don't need to find a publisher. I'm not certain how much this will change the industry but I definitely feel there could be less publishing companies, less jobs, and possibly an inflated book market. I guess only time will tell.

Week 15 Prompt:

Book Displays
This is the number one way that I, and I think most libraries, promote their fiction collections. Book display ideas are practically endless. You can go on Pinterest or just do a Google search to come up with thousands of ideas. They can be as simple as a shelf with a sign or something more elaborate that really draws people into the display. There can be props involved or promotional material available that relates to the books being displayed. 

Social Media
My library is connected to a website called Wowbrary that does a weekly update and newsletter letting people know what new materials we have gotten over the past week. We feature this each week on our Facebook page as well. It lets patrons know what is new and encourages them to check out or place holds on the items. We also have blogs that feature staff recommendations throughout our whole system. Occasionally, we will post fun little booklists that appeal to different readers.

Book Talks
I think book talks are a great way to introduce different books that people might not know about. I particularly like them for the middle and high school crowd. Teens seem hesitant to pick up a book that they haven't heard about. Doing book talks for schools, either in person or via video uploads, shows teens new material and gets them excited about books, especially since they can discuss them with their friends. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Week 14 Prompt:

Let me start out by telling a little story about an experience I had with a similar issue. Years ago I was in charge of doing the book displays at my branch library. It was February and I decided to have Black History Month display featuring mostly fiction works written by African Americans. I live in a slightly backwards and almost completely white town. That being said, one of my co-workers was very upset with my choice of display and said that if I wanted to have a Black History Month display then I should also have a display for every other race. I told her I would be more than happy to do a display for National Hispanic Month and so forth, but there isn't a national month for Caucasians and that most of my other displays already prominently feature white authors. We never really came to an agreement, but because she was not my supervisor (who had approved the display), I kept it up. The books didn't have a large circulation but that was beside the point. I felt it was necessary to display acceptance and equality in a public library because that is what we stand for- freedom.
As for whether I would create a separate section for LGBTQ and African American books, I don't think I would make a permanent location of either of them. I would do the same thing I did above; I would dedicate a display during Black History or Gay Pride. While it is important to highlight these topics, I don't want to divide them from the rest of the collection. That is creating a segregation of sorts in the library stacks. The library is essentially saying these books are different than the others and must be kept separate. Also, the patrons may feel targeted if they are browsing a section of just LGBTQ books. I also agree with the idea that it "disrupts serendipitous discovery of an author who might be different from the reader;" we want people to browse and expand their reading horizons.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week Thirteen Prompt:

I guess it just seems obvious to me that we should encourage and promote the reading of YA literature and graphic novels by adults, or reading of any kind really. As a public library, we have no right to determine what is or is not appropriate, especially for grown adults. We promote and protect the freedom to read. Furthermore, many of these YA books are considered "crossovers" because they appeal to more than one audience. Their subject matter goes further than teeny bopper love story (which is also fine if that's what you like to read). Graphic novels can definitely be more than comics; Watchmen is considered one of the greatest novels ever written. 

With that being said, there are several things that can be done to ensure we are serving adults, such as myself, who enjoy YA literature and graphic novels. We can continue to promote these materials through displays and booklists. I created a list a few weeks back for my special topics paper that has YA books that will appeal to adults as well as teens. Librarians can also offer book discussions geared towards adults that discuss young adult works or graphic novels.

One of the most important things we can do because there is such a stigma towards reading these books is making sure that we have an excellent selection available online. This included ebooks and e-audiobooks. If people are embarrassed of showing the cover, as we saw in the case of romance books, ebooks allow them to keep their reading selection private. Along these same lines, librarians can offer online book discussions so that people can still share about their books but in the privacy of their own homes. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Week 13: Young Adult Annotation

A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult

Publication Date: March 12, 2013

Number of Pages: 224 pages

Geographical Setting: Europe

Time Period: Present

Plot Summary: Conor is a thirteen year old boy who is haunted by a monster that walks outside his house in the middle of the night. The monster begins telling him stories with important lessons about loss and life attached to each one. At the same time, Conor is dealing with his mother's illness and her almost certain death. As her health deteriorates, Conor's anger and frustration, as well as his denial, with the situation reaches a breaking point. It is at these times that he and the "monster" appear to be one. Siobhan Dowd, author of young adult novels such as A Swift Pure Cry, wrote this shortly before her death from breast cancer. Patrick Ness, another renowned young adult author, finished the book. 
Subject Headings:    Self-actualization (Psychology) -- Fiction.        
            Monsters -- Fiction.        
            Mothers and sons -- Fiction.        
            Schools -- Fiction.        
            Single-parent families -- Fiction.        
            Breast -- Cancer -- Fiction.        
            Loss (Psychology) -- Fiction.        
            England -- Fiction.        

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Paranormal, Melancholy, Character-driven

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
  • The Nest- Kenneth Oppel
    Similar to A Monster Calls, this book deals with a young boy visited by creatures that promise to save his sick brother. 
  • Clay- David Almond
    In both of these books, boys deal with monstrous creatures of their own imaginations. 
  • Far Far Away- Tom McNeal
    Both tales include a supernatural spirit. In this, a teenage boy is aided by the ghost of Jacob Grimm when he is left to support his family. 
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
  • This Star Won’t Go Out- Esther Earl
    This is a collection of writings from Esther Grace Earl, an aspiring writer who died from thyroid cancer at age 16. 
  • Positive- Paige Rawl
    The author of this memoir was born with HIV and while she was in school, everyone found out and she was bullied to the point of suicidal thoughts. Both books deal with people being bullied, often for something they cannot control. 
  • The Burn Journals- Brent Runyon
    When Brent Runyon was a teenager, he set his body on fire in a suicide attempt and suffered third degree burns over most of his body.

Week Twelve Prompt:

Reader's Advisory Matrix
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart

1. Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
Highly narrative (reads like fiction)

2. What is the subject of the book?
Celebrity memoir involving faith, growing up, mental illness, and coming out. 

3. What type of book is it?
Memoir style collection of narrative essays

4. Articulate appeal
  • What is the pacing of the book? 
    •  It reads very quickly.
  • Describe the characters of the book. 
    •  The main character is the author Hannah Hart. She is a YouTube cooking celebrity. Her character is sincere and easy to relate to even if you have not been in her situation.
  • How does the story feel? 
    •   Sincere, heartfelt, open, sometimes cringeworthy
  • What is the intent of the author? 
    •  To share her experience.
  • What is the focus of the story? 
    •  She is detailing her life from childhood to the present as she dealt with a bipolar, negligent mother and realizing that she is a lesbian.
  • Does the language matter? 
    •  Yes, in a way. Hannah is young and her writing reads like a friend or a blog.
  • Is the setting important and well described?
    •  The setting is not necessarily important; her story may have been the same no matter where she was located as a child. As an adult, the setting of California and New York are more important because you can see how she was able to make a career. Either way, most of the locations are well detailed. 
  • Are there details and, if so, of what?
    •  She details her mother's mental illness in great detail throughout the story, from when she was a child to an adult trying to find help for her. For example, she visits her mother's home and goes into almost grotesque detail about the amount of cockroaches and dirt layered in the house. 
  • Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials? Are they useful and clear? 
    • None
  • Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?
    •  While this book is in no way a learning guide or tutorial, Hannah clearly wants people to understand her experience and have sympathy for those living with mental illness, as her mother was. 
5. Why would a reader enjoy this book (rank appeal)?.
1. Learning/experiencing                   2. Pace               3. Tone