Monday, March 31, 2008


If you like listening to audiobooks here are a few you may want to hear:

The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles, Narrated by Kate Jackson. Aurora County is the Book Buddies April book selection and this audio version is spectacular. I can't think of a better choice than Kate Jackson to bring the people of Aurora County to life. (Those of us old enough will remember Kate Jackson from Charlie's Angels fame and later from the great '80s TV series Scarecrow and Mrs. King.) Request this audiobook through the library here.

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements, Narrated by Ron Livingston. Woods is a terrific book and Ron Livingston is the perfect narrator to give voices to the main characters, Mr. Maxwell and Mark Chelmsley. I've personally always been a little on the fence about audiobooks - most of the time I'd just rather read the book. But Ron Livingston made me a convert and I'm sad to say, I've yet to find another audiobook that he's done.
Request this audiobook through the library here.

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis, Narrated by Mamie Gummer. I liked Emma-Jean so much that I am seriously considering this one as a possible book club selection for next year. Mamie Gummer does a fantastic job keeping all of the characters separate and giving each their own "voice." She is on her way to becoming as much of a talent as her famous mom, Meryl Streep. Request this audiobook through the library here.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, Narrated by Jim Dale. Mr. Dale is actually the narrator of all of the Harry Potter audiobooks and I'm told that listening to him is an experience like no other. I've not actually had a chance to listen to any of the Harry Potters (although of course, I've read them all) but my friends and fellow librarians tell me that the narration is incredible and that even if you've read the books it's worth it to listen to them again because it's like experiencing Harry's world in a totally different way. Mr. Dale has won numerous awards for his efforts including a Grammy Award in 2008 for Deathly Hallows. This audiobook is available in the Children's Department at the Newport Public Library so come get it today!

I will continue to listen to audiobooks as I drive to and from work (I have a bit of a commute) and as I find ones I really like, I'll let you know. 'Til next time, happy listening!

Artist Marla Frazee

Marla Frazee is the artist behind the cover of The Aurora County All-Stars. She is also the artist of this years Rhode Island Children's Book Award winner, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and many other picture books and children's fiction books. She has a great website with lots of information about her art.

Also check out this recent interview with her here.

Author Deborah Wiles

Deborah Wiles is the very talented author of The Aurora County All-Stars. Check out here website (be sure to read her Life Notice while you're there) and her blog, One Pomegranate.
There's also a great Aurora County interview with her here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Read-A-Palooza Event

This morning, I had the priviledge of attending the first (and hopefully annual) Read-A-Palooza event at Thompson Middle School in Newport. Lisa Olaynack, a fantastic 6th grade teacher at Thompson, organized this event to celebrate young adult book readers and authors. She invited representatives from Reading is Fundamental (who provided free books to all 160 sixth graders in attendance) and librarians from the Redwood Library and the Newport Public Library. (I went representing the Children's Department as did our YA Librarian, Kathy Fitzgerald). I had the chance to talk about the Book Buddies Book Club and specifically our Book Buddies Blog which is not restricted to book club members, but is open to anyone interested in books and reading. (I encourage people to post comments and write book reviews!) Author Ann Hood was also there to discuss her new young adult novel, How I Saved My Father's Life (And Ruined Everything Else). She also signed books and took questions from the students. It is always such a thrill when an author agrees to meet with young people and talk with them about their work and Ann Hood was fantastic!

It was a wonderful event and I am so grateful that Lisa asked me to participate. I'm already looking forward to next year. In the meantime I will be enjoying my copy of How I Saved My Father's Life....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

April Book

Our April book is The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. We'll be meeting to discuss the book on Monday, April 28th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. I have an extra copy of the book behind the Children's Desk if anyone needs one!

House Jackson, age twelve, star pitcher and team captain of the Aurora County All-Stars, has a secret. For the past year, while sidelined with a broken elbow, he has spent every afternoon at the bedside of a mysterious old man the other kids call Mean-Man Boyd - and he doesn't want anyone to know. Now House is finally ready to play ball again, but his team's biggest (and ONLY) game of the year might be canceled, thanks to the very girl who cause his broken elbow. It's almost too much to bear. But in the standoff that ensues, House finds a courage he didn't know he possessed - and discovers that just about everyone in Aurora County, Mississippi, has a secret.

March Meeting

The Tail of Emily Windsnap =

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday to discuss The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler. Everyone really liked it, some "loved it" and others said it was their "favorite book." We all liked that it was about mermaids and that there was a lot of adventure. Most felt it was a quick read, especially from the middle to the end. Many club members are now involved with the second and third books in the Emily Windsnap series!

We had sugar cookies as part of our snack and made charm bracelets for our craft project using metallic beads and sea charms, including seashells, seahorses, fish, dolphins and starfish.

It was a lot of fun and we're all looking forward to our next meeting in April!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's a mystery....

I went to a fantastic conference on Thursday where I met three very famous mystery authors and had a chance to hear them talk about their work. They were fascinating to listen to and they completely inspired me - maybe I'll write a book one day!

The first author to speak was Mary Downing Hahn, author of Wait Til Helen Comes and The Old Willis Place among many others. She had a lot to say about writing for children and how she became interested in ghost stories. Her ghost stories are really excellent and I encourage you to come and check one out!

The Old Willis Place

Tired of the rules that have bound them ever since "the bad thing happened," twelve-year-old Diana ignores her brother's warnings and befriends the daughter of the new caretaker, setting in motion events that lead to the release of the spirit of an evil, crazy woman who once ruled the old Willis place.

The second speaker was Elise Broach, author of Shakespeare's Secret. Shakespeare's Secret is a wonderful mystery filled with intrigue, suspense, a missing diamond and the Shakespeare authorship question. (There is some debate going on about whether or not Shakespeare really wrote his plays or if someone else did...) She talked about how she came to write the book and what she feels are the elements of a good mystery. She also discussed the difficulty of bringing plot and character together in a convincing way.

Shakespeare's Secret

Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, misfit sixth-grader Hero becomes interested in exploring this unusual connection because of a valuable diamond supposedly hidden in her new house, an intriguing neighbor, and the unexpected attention of the most popular boy in school.

Finally, we finished up the day with Peter Abrahams, author of many books for adults and the Echo Falls mystery series for children. He was very funny and one of his main points was a lesson he learned from his mother - that every sentence should advance the story; nothing extra no matter how "pretty" it might be. Which is totally true if you think about it - and great advice for all of you budding authors! Down the Rabbit Hole is the first in the Echo Falls mystery series and our copy is on the shelf ready to be checked out today!

Down the Rabbit Hole

Like her idol Sherlock Holmes, eighth grader Ingrid Levin-Hill uses her intellect to solve a murder case in her home town of Echo Falls.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Book Club meeting Monday!

Hey all,
I'm going to be out of the library for a couple of days so I wanted to post now and remind you all that we're meeting to discuss The Tail of Emily Windsnap this Monday (3/24) at 3:30pm in the Children's Program room. (Didn't this month just fly by? Where does the time go....)

I'll be in on Saturday in case anyone needs to reach me before Monday...

Hope you loved the book! Can't wait to discuss!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Emily extras

If you're like me, you will understand my excitement over what I call book "extras", products that are a spinoff of the books themselves. Things like journals and bookmarks that go along with a book - basically, things girls love. So imagine my joy at finding out about the extras that go along with the Emily Windsnap books! Thanks to Liz Kessler's extraordinarily detailed website, I've discovered the following items:

The Emily Windsnap Giftbox, featuring the first two books and a starfish necklace(!) and the Emily Windsnap Friendship Book which is a must have for best friends everywhere and includes lots of fun things like how to make friendship tokens and how to plan the ultimate mermaid sleepover. And although my birthday is not until December I'd just like to point out that I accept gifts at any time (hint, hint) especially from best friends (you know who you are!)

Emily Windsnap Trilogy

If you are enjoying The Tail of Emily Windsnap (and I really hope you are!) be sure and check out the next two installments in the series:

Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep
Picture an island set in a glittering blue sea, sparkling with white sand and palm trees, a secret place where humans and merfolk live together and where a girl who grows a mermaid's tail when she enters the water is not considered a problem. To Emily Windsnap - half mermaid, half human - her new home is perfect. That is, until Emily ruins everything by waking a legendary sea monster known as the Kraken from its hundred-year sleep. As the Kraken rises from the deep, putting the future of the islanders in jeopardy, Emily makes a desperate attempt to save them. But how could she have dreamed that her best friend, Shona, would stop talking to her, or that Mandy Rushton, her old enemy from junior high, would turn up when least expected?

Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist

When Emily Windsnap discovers an old diamond ring during a class hunt for trinkets, how is she supposed to know that the ring is half the key to unlocking an ancient curse by Neptune himself? Now, with the ring stuck firmly on her hand, Emily finds herself under a new curse: in just a few days, she'll cease to be half-human and half-mermaid and must say good-bye to one parent forever. Can she possibly find the other missing ring that will break all the curses? Is there anyone who can help her - before it's too late?

Also be sure to watch for Liz Kessler's new Philippa Fisher series coming this September!

Sara Pennypacker Interview

There's a great interview with Sara Pennypacker in the April 1, 2007 School Library Journal. She talks a lot about her book, Clementine, which just won the 2008 Rhode Island Children's Book Award!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And the winner is....

The 2008 winner of the Rhode Island Children's Book Award has just been announced! Clementine by Sara Pennypacker won with 932 votes!

Clementine is having not so good of a week. On Monday she's sent to the principal's office for cutting off Margaret's hair. Tuesday, Margaret's mother is mad at her. Wednesday, she's sent to the principal...again. Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her. Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse. And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her. Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.

The Newport Public Library currently has two copies of Clementine available. Come in and get one today!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Books about mermaids....

I really hope you are all enjoying The Tail of Emily Windsnap. I can't wait to hear from you at our next meeting! In the meantime, if you like books about mermaids, here are a few more you might want to check out....

To Catch a Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors

Boom Broom thinks his life can't get any worse. Ever since his mother was swept away by a twister, his father has been locked in the attic, leaving twelve-year old Boom to care for his little sister Mertyle. Low on money, Boom brings home a feisty, seaweed-covered fish from the reject seafood bucket by the docks. But when the seaweed parts, Boom and Mertyle find that their supper is actually a foul-tempered merbaby. Boom wants to use the creature to get rich, but Mertyle won't hear of it. She loves the mud-scented baby and wants to keep it for herself. But when strange things begin to happen, Boom is afraid they might be cursed! With the help of their Viking housekeeper, Halvor, and his secret society, Boom and his sister set off to find the home of the merfolk, in search of a cure. To Catch a Mermaid is a whimsical fantasy adventure reminiscent of Eva Ibbotson and Roald Dahl.
For more, see the Suzanne Selfors website.

Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman.

Hailey and Claire are spending their last summer together when they discover something at the bottom of the murky pool at the Capri Beach Club. There in the depths is a mysterious and beautiful creature with a sharp tongue and a broken heart, a mermaid named Aquamarine who has left her family to search for true love on land. Now, as this mythological but very real being starts to fade in the hot August sun, a rescue begins
On the edge of growing up, Hailey and Claire learn that life can take an unpredictable course, that friendship can be forever, and that magic can be found in unexpected places.Master storyteller Alice Hoffman had written a tale of true enchantment, a luminous lesson on how to say good-bye and how to hold on to those we love.

For more, visit Alice Hoffman's website.

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson.

A little sea princess, longing to be human, trades her mermaid's tail for legs, hoping to win the love a prince and earn an immortal soul for herself.

Visit the Newport Public Library today for these great reads!