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Shadow & Bone…so good!

13 Oct

shadow and bone

GREAT BOOK. Seriously. Read it.

Oh yeah, and Leigh Bardugo is also a makeup artist. What?!


I can’t wait until May 1!

25 Apr

A day of sequels! These two books are coming out May 1. Can’t wait.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore will be at the Cambridge Library May 1 @ 6 pm!

Alive in the Killing Fields

28 Jun

This is a book about a boy who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide. It is an adult book and is a heartbreaking story that I believe all should read.

Have Your Say in the MA Teen Choice Book Awards

16 Dec

Calling all teens!  The Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Awards is extending the deadline for nominations for the 2010 MCTBA from 12/31/10 to Friday, January 7, 2011 — so there is plenty of time to nominate as many new YA book titles as you want!  All teens aged 13-18 are eligible to vote online at  This website is similar to the Summer Reading website: you must create an account on the site, and then use your User Name and password to log-in.  Once you are logged in, you can nominate every new title that you’ve enjoyed reading this year.   Then once the nominations are over, the top 5 books with the most nominations will be put on a ballot.  You will then have until March 15th to vote for your favorite book on the ballot.  The winning book will be announced on Support Teen Literature Day – April 14, 2011.

Fiction, nonfiction, manga – you name it!  If you liked it and it was published this year, you can nominate it! So create that log-in and let YOUR opinions be counted this year!

[The program is open to anyone who lives or goes to school in Massachusetts and is between 12-18 years old.  Note: you must be 13 or older to nominate/vote online.  If you are 12, you must use the printable form linked here; fill it out and mail it to: Milford Town Library, 80 Spruce St., Milford, MA  01757.]

Gift Booklist for Middle School Children by Newton Free Librarians

15 Nov

Looking for a wonderful book for holiday gift-giving?  Look no further — here are this year’s wonderful suggestions from the Childrens’ librarians at the Newton Free Library.  There is something to delight every reader…..


Carman, Patrick. Trackers.

Carter, Ally. Heist Society.

Lee, Y.S. A Spy in the House.

Perkins, Mitali. Bamboo People.

Sedgwick, Marcus. Revolver.

Stanley, Diane. Saving Sky.

Realistic Fiction

Alonzo, Sandra. Riding Invisible.

Briant, Ed. Choppy Socky Blues.

Budhos, Marina. Tell Us We’re Home.

Cooney, Caroline B. Three Black Swans.

De Goldi, Kate. The 10 PM Question.

Myers, Walter Dean. The Cruisers.


Berk, Josh. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin.

Corriveau, Art. How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog).

Dionne, Erin. The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet.

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt.

Weiss, M. Jerry and Helen S. Weiss. This Family is Driving Me Crazy: Ten Stories about Surviving Your Family.

Historical Fiction

Cushman, Karen.  Alchemy and Meggy Swann.

Gonzalez, Christina Diaz. The Red Umbrella.

McMullan, Margaret. Sources of Light.

Paulsen, Gary. Woods Runner.

Preus, Margi. Heart of a Samurai: Based on the True Story of Nakahama Manjiro.

Watts, Irene N. No Moon.

Graphic Novels

Hinds, Gareth. The Odyssey.

Kim, Susan and Laurence Klavan. City of Spies.

Renier, Aaron. The Unsinkable Walker Bean.

Telgemeier, Raina. Smile.

TenNapel, Doug. Ghostopolis.

Yolen, Jane. Foiled.


Arbuthnott, Gill. The Keepers’ Tattoo.

Bow, Erin. Plain Kate.

Funke, Cornelia. Reckless.

Shulman, Polly. The Grimm Legacy.

Tomlinson, Heather. Toads and Diamonds.

Walsh, Pat. The Crowfield Curse.

Horror/ Supernatural

Brennan, Herbie. The Shadow Project.

Griffin, Adele and Lisa Brown. Picture the Dead.

Henderson, Jason. Vampire Rising.

Johnson, Christine. Claire de Lune.

Peck, Richard. Three-Quarters Dead.

Teller, Janne. Nothing.

Science Fiction

Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker.

Falls, Kat. Dark Life.

Jinks, Catherine. Living Hell.

Millard, Glenda. A Small Free Kiss in the Dark.

Myklusch, Matt. Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation.

Patneaude, David. Epitaph Road.

Biographies & Non-Fiction

Fleischman, Sid. Sir Charlie Chaplin: The Funniest Man in the World.

Gherman, Beverly. Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz.

Guiberson, Brenda Z. Disasters: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes…

Janeczko, Paul B. The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from the Revolution to the 21st Century.

Schwartz, John. Short: Walking Tall When You’re Not Tall at All.


Atkins, Jeannine. Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madame C. J. Walker, Marie Curie & Their Daughters.

Hemphill, Stephanie. Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials.

Levy, Debbie. The Year of Goodbyes: A True Story of Friendship…

Mora, Pat. Dizzy in Your Eyes:  Poems About Love.

Paschen, Elise. Poetry Speaks–Who I Am. (with CD).

(November 2010)

YA Novels are Popular with All Ages says NYTimes Essayist

9 Aug

In this past Sunday’s NYT Book Review, Pamela Paul wrote an essay entitled “The Kids’ Books Are All Right”.   It sums up what we have always known, that good “KidLit” is simply good reading period, no matter what age you are.  Here is the essay:

The Kids’ Books Are All Right
Published: August 6, 2010

While au fait literary types around town await the buzzed-about new novels from Jonathan Franzen and Nicole Krauss, other former English majors have spent the summer trying to get hold of “Mockingjay,” the third book in Suzanne Collins’s dystopian trilogy, so intensely under wraps that not even reviewers have been allowed a glimpse before its airtight Aug. 24 release. What fate will befall our heroine, Katniss Everdeen? My fellow book club members and I are desperate to know. When will the Capitol fall? And how can Collins possibly top the first two installments, “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire”?

Oh, did I mention? “Mockingjay” is for teenagers. I am well into my 30s.

But I am not embarrassed by my, shall we say, immature taste in literature. And I wasn’t much concerned when, barreling through “The Hunger Games” at the hospital after giving birth to my third child, I hardly noticed whether he ate or slept. When will the rebellion begin, I wanted to know. Which suitor will Katniss choose? Nor am I alone. According to David Levithan, editorial director at Scholastic, Collins’s publisher, roughly half of the “Hunger Games” fans on Facebook are full-fledged adults. “The Harry Potter generation has grown up,” he told me.

It isn’t just the kids who graduated with the Hogwarts crowd who are tuning in. After all, the historian Amanda Foreman, a 42-year-old mother of five and author of “Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire,” was honeymooning when she first read Harry. When I asked Foreman about her young adult reading habit, she could hardly contain her enthusiasm. I must, she urged, read Susan Cooper (“incredibly clever”), Eoin Colfer (“a brilliant author”), Rick Riordan (“really, really, really good”). I must! “A lot of adult literature is all art and no heart,” Foreman, who is currently working on a book about British involvement in the American Civil War, said. “But good Y.A. is like good television. There’s a freshness there; it’s engaging. Y.A. authors aren’t writing about middle-aged anomie or ­disappointed people.”

That may be, in part, why so many middle-aged readers like them. (“They’re also easier to read, and people are tired,” Lizzie Skurnick, author of the anthology “Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading,” suggested. “I’m sure I’ll get in trouble for saying that.”) But big type and short, plot-driven chapters aside, the erosion of age-­determined book categories, initiated by Harry Potter, has been hastened along by an influx of crossover authors like Stephenie Meyer and interlopers like Sherman Alexie, James Patterson, Francine Prose, Carl Hiaasen and John Grisham, to name just a few stars from across the spectrum of adult fiction who have turned to writing Y.A. According to surveys by the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry, 47 percent of 18- to 24-year-old women and 24 percent of same-aged men say most of the books they buy are classified as young adult. The percentage of female Y.A. fans between the ages of 25 and 44 has nearly doubled in the past four years. Today, nearly one in five 35- to 44-year-olds say they most frequently buy Y.A. books. For themselves.

When Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness Project,” started up her Kidlit book club in 2006, it was a furtive, underground pursuit. “I always knew that I loved children’s literature but had shoved it to the side because it didn’t fit my idea of myself as a sophisticated adult,” Rubin, a former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, told me. “So I read it on the sly, when I was stressed out. If I found myself rereading ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ it meant I was really anxious.”

The idea for Kidlit was hatched at a lunch with Jennifer Joel, a literary agent at I.C.M., in which both tentatively expressed a love that ran deeper than Potter. A few days later, Rubin discovered that another acquaintance, Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president and publisher of Harper, was also a fan. Their first meeting was held shortly thereafter. Its subject was “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” At the end of dessert (Turkish delight), Amy Zilliax, who has a Ph.D. in English, stood up and shouted, “At last, I have found my people!”

Kidlit has now expanded to three groups, which meet every six weeks, alternating between classic and contemporary works. When I joined in 2008, the initial appeal was catch-up. Why had I never read “Bridge to Terabithia”? Shouldn’t I tackle H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, “Where the Red Fern Grows”? But I was also intrigued that Lev Grossman, book critic for Time, and Laura Miller, the book critic for Salon, along with several top agents and editors, were also members. What, I wondered, were such high-powered literary eminences doing in a club devoted to children’s stories?

Arguing, often passionately, about the books, for one thing. “We take these books seriously,” said Grossman, whose latest novel, “The Magicians,” has been described as an R-rated Harry Potter. His group recently devoted two sessions — “among the most contentious and shouty we’ve had” — to “The Hunger Games.” Is Katniss a feminist hero? Is she a tool of the state? Is this a conventional romance or a subversion of the genre? “Everybody had an opinion,” Grossman added.

And none of it feels like homework. The themes are serious and the discussions intense, but the books are fast-paced and fun. “A lot of contemporary adult literature is characterized by a real distrust of plot,” Grossman said. “I think young adult fiction is one of the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really thrives.”

Y.A. may also pierce the jadedness and cynicism of our adult selves. “When you talk to people about the books that have meant a lot to them, it’s usually books they read when they were younger because the books have this wonder in everyday things that isn’t bogged down by excessively grown-up concerns or the need to be subtle or coy,” explained Jesse Sheidlower, an editor at large at the Oxford English Dictionary and member of Kidlit. “When you read these books as an adult, it tends to bring back the sense of newness and discovery that I tend not to get from adult fiction.”

“There’s an immediacy in the prose,” said Darcey Steinke, a novelist who says she reads about one Y.A. book a month (recent favorites: “Elsewhere,” by Gabrielle Zevin — “better than ‘The Lovely Bones’ — and anything by Francesca Lia Block of “Weetzie Bat” fame). “I like the way adolescent emotions are rawer, less canned.”

Caitlin Macy, the author of the story collection “Spoiled” and another Kidlit member, pointed out that the early teens are “a moment in time when you feel that each decision you make — like who you sit next to at lunch — is actually going to have repercussions for the rest of your life.” As Steinke puts it: “There’s a timelessness to the period. These books are far from you, yet are also the same as you.”

Fortunately, it’s a you who need not be embarrassed about still reading kids’ books.

Pamela Paul’s most recent book is “Parenting, Inc.” She writes the Studied column for the Sunday Styles section of The Times.
A version of this article appeared in print on August 8, 2010, on page BR23 of the Sunday Book Review.

Teen Summer Reading Program Starts Today!

24 Jun

Think Green @ the Newton Free LibraryPlease sign up for the YA Summer Reading Program, Think Green @ the Newton Free Library beginning today by going to and clicking on the Teen SRP 2010 tab on the Summer Reading page. The program runs from June 24th to Sept. 6th. Teens (entering 6th grade through 12th grade) must read, log, and include a short review of 3 books in order to be eligible for a gift certificate prize at the end of the summer.

“tnk grEn” is sponsored by your local library, the Massachusetts Regional Library Systems, the Boston Bruins, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

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