Saturday, August 12, 2017

Review: Quicksand Pond

Quicksand Pond Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Talk
Jessie's dad decides he and his kids need a vacation and packs up the family for a 6-week stay at the beach. No Internet, no iPods or phones, nothing but peace and quiet. And Jessie is BORED. Until she meets feisty and adventurous Terri Carr, and the two of them find a raft for exploring nearby Quicksand Pond, where people have gone missing and a mysterious murder occurred in the past.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed this book a lot, but I felt like it couldn't figure out what it wanted to be. It was a little realistic fiction, a little historical fiction, some mystery. I wanted each piece of the story to be fleshed out more. I wanted more of the older woman's story who watched the girls from the window. I wanted to know more about Terri and her life. And what was happening in Jessie's family with her parents? The story tried to cover too much territory in too short of a book.

My Recommendation
3.5/5 stars
Grades 5+


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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review: The Forgetting Spell

The Forgetting Spell The Forgetting Spell by Lauren Myracle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book Talk:

Do you remember your 13th birthday? Closing your eyes, making your wish, and blowing out your candles? What would happen if your wish actually came true? In The Forgetting Spell, this is exactly what happens to Darya on her Wishing Day. But Darya should be careful what she wishes for, because it just might change everything about her life.

My Thoughts:
This book was all over the place. In hindsight, I should probably have read #1 before reading this one, but I jumped right in. I was confused and really had no idea what was going on or why. I still don't really know who Emily is, or why she mattered so much to the story. I don't get the mother character at all, or why she felt the need to leave her children and husband. Why would leaving fix anything? I am just so very confused by this story.

I feel like this book wanted to be so much more, and could have been, if there was any sort of logical story line. I just truly did not get it.

My Recommendations:
2.5/5 stars
Grades 5+


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Review: Thinking Outside the Book: Essays for Innovative Librarians

Thinking Outside the Book: Essays for Innovative Librarians Thinking Outside the Book: Essays for Innovative Librarians by Carol Smallwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a collection of essays from librarians in all types of positions: academic, public, school, medical, etc. It's an interesting idea, but it loses itself a bit in translation. I found that many of the essays were outdated (especially in terms of "required technology" and broken links). Still, I focused on the topics that are of particular interest to me: publishing, blogging, and embedded librarianship. I just skimmed or skipped those that didn't relate to me.

A good option if you can get it via ILL or borrow from a friend.

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Review: Children of Willesden Lane, The

Children of Willesden Lane, The Children of Willesden Lane, The by Mona Golabeck and Lee Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Talk:
Have you ever been a long train ride? Looked out the window and seen the world flashing by? Now imagine that train was taking you away from everything you've ever known, including your family. Imagine it was taking you to an entirely new country where you don't know anyone, and you don't even really speak the language.

This is the true story of Lisa Jura, a 14-year old Jewish girl who was whisked away on the Kindertransport, in an effort to rescue her and thousands of other children from the horrors of the Nazi invasion of Austria. It is the story of her tireless efforts to get her sisters out of Austria, and to live out her mother's dream of becoming a concert pianist.

My Thoughts:
I read this in conjunction with The Survivor's Club, which probably wasn't fair. I so much loved Survivor's Club that this one sort of paled in comparison. It's not that it wasn't good...it just didn't have the power behind that the other book did. Both describe children going through unbelievably tough situations, and both extol the virtues of bravery and grit. I just didn't feel this one as much, probably because much of the emphasis was on the music and how it played a role in Lisa's life. I would have rathered learn more about the relationships and hardships than the music, but that's just a personal preference.

My Recommendation:
3.5/5 stars
Grades 5+ (might be a little dark for younger students, but no language or adult themes)

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Review: City of Bones

City of Bones City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Talk
Clary and Simon are just regular teens, hanging out and doing life. One night they head to Pandemonium, Clary's favorite under-21 club. Clary witnesses an unusual interaction between several kids that changes not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves. Suddenly, Clary realizes that there is so much more to the world she has always known. And her role in the world is much bigger than she ever expected.

My Thoughts
I think I would classify this as magical realism? Some romance, fantasy, etc. It's a good yarn, kind of a mix between Harry Potter and Hunger Games. Lots of magical creatures to keep your interest, bad guys, angels, vampires, etc.

My Remonnedation
3.5/5 stars
Grades 7+ (language, some adult themes, violence)

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not going to do my usual routine for this book, because I'm not sure how I would actually go about booktalking it.

Here's the deal. This book is about suicide. That's not a spoiler, it's the premise of the book. A high school student makes the decision to kill herself, but leaves a trail of clues on a series of audio tapes for those who played a role in her downward spiral.

13 clues, 13 people who Hannah feels like could have stopped it from happening.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Recap: #edcampCR

Photo courtesy of http://edcampcr.weebly.com/


I love EdCamp! Today I attended EdCampCR in the Harrisburg, PA area. I believe it was their first time holding a camp, and they did a great job. It was a smaller showing than I've seen in other camps, but they had plenty of sessions available, great giveaways, and a nice breakfast/lunch for attendees.

If you've never been to an EdCamp, it's a little hard to describe. When you walk in, you are asked to fill out an index card listing a topic or two that you are interested in or that you want to learn. If you are already comfortable with the topic, you can add your name to show you will act as a facilitator.