April 2011 archive

Introducing TumbleReadables!

TumbleReadables is an online read-a-long collection of books for elementary through high school readers. The selection also includes classics and plays that college-level students as well as adults will find interesting. The McCracken County Public Library has a growing assortment of titles available for your (free) viewing pleasure.

TumbleReadables feature adjustable text and online narration, making them the perfect choice for reluctant readers and anyone else who enjoys listening to a great story. For beginning readers, the sentences are highlighted as they are read, and you can choose to have the “pages” turn automatically or manually.

Whether you’re just learning to read or you are finally getting around to reading Great Expectations, TumbleReadables includes something for everyone.

Check out all the great books here!

It’s a Bleak New World

Move over Edward Cullen, dark and dreary vampire novels seem to have been (mostly) replaced by dark and dreary dystopian/science fiction novels for teens. With the success of series like the Hunger Games, the most popular new books for teens all seem to have dismal premises. Whether in a society run by a government that cures people of the delirium of love or speeding through the universe on a spaceship filled with cryogenically frozen people, the most exciting novels this year are all about rebelling against the oppressive authority.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites, both old and new:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Teenaged Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger on the spaceship Godspeed, wakes up to discover that someone may have tried to murder her.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

In a future world baked dry by the sun and divided into those who live inside the wall and those who live outside it, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone is forced into a difficult choice when her parents are arrested and taken into the city.

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

After his parents, two sisters, and he have spent six years in a vast underground compound built by his wealthy father to protect them from a nuclear holocaust, fifteen-year-old Eli, whose twin brother and grandmother were left behind, discovers that his father has perpetrated a monstrous hoax on them all.

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

In 2140 England, where drugs enable people to live forever and children are illegal, teenaged Anna, an obedient “Surplus” training to become a house servant, discovers that her birth parents are trying to find her.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, she falls in love.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

Gone by Michael Grant

In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have “The Power” and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Matched by Ally Condie

All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, who to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn’t be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky’s face show up on her match disk as well?

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Sharp North by Patrick Cave

In a futuristic world, Great Families rule Britain through a caste system where reproduction is seriously restricted, while the families keep illegal clones or “spares” of themselves.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

New York City, once vibrant and alive, has lost its spirit. People walk the streets with their heads down and their eyes averted, withdrawing from each other and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this new reality: Mal in the city, part of the foster care system; Laura in the suburbs, loved and protected. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will. But then their worlds shift. On the same day Mal learns his estranged brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have inexplicably forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same terrifying truth: someone or something has wiped the two teenagers from the memories of every single person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground if they are going to reclaim a past that was stolen from them–and create a future no one can take away…

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

In a futuristic alternative school set in a shopping mall where video game-playing students are observed and used by corporate sponsors for market research, Katey “Kid” Dade struggles to figure out where she fits in and whether she even wants to.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives “unwound” and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs–and, perhaps, save their own lives.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

*Note that many of these are part of a series, so check out each book at the library!

New young adult books!

April not only brings showers, but also a great selection of new books!

Here’s a list of some of the most anticipated young adult books:

Afterlife by Claudia Gray (book 4 in the Evernight series)

When a shocking twist of fate turns Bianca into a wraith and Lucas into a vampire, the star-crosses lovers have no choice but to return to the sinister Evernight Academy to deal with the repercussions.

Angel by James Patterson (book 7 in the Maximum Ride series)

Heartbroken after her best friend and soul mate, Fang, leaves her flock, Maximum Ride begins to believe the evil scientists trying to convince her she needs to save the world, and that Dylan, the newest member of her flock, is her perfect mate.

Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch

Eighteen-year-old Robert tries to help his half-brother Xan, a seventeen-year-old misfit, to make better choices as he becomes increasingly attracted to a variety of protesters, anarchists, and the like.

Babe in  Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Natalie, a seventeen-year-old former drama club member who now writes a relationship column for her school newspaper, decides to go undercover as a student at an all-boys boarding school so that she can figure out what guys are really like.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Two teenagers who are living on the streets and barely getting by become involved in a complicated criminal plot, and make an unexpected connection with each other.

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Sixteen-year-old Kylie Galen thinks her misbehavior in the wake of her grandmother’s death and her parents’ separation are the reasons she has been sent to Shadow Falls Camp, but learns it is a training ground for vampires, werewolves, and other “freaky freaks,” of which she may be one.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (book 4 in the Mortal Instruments series)

As mysterious murders threaten the new peace between Shadowhunters and Downworlders, only Simon, the Daylighter vampire, can help bring both groups together.

The Darlings are Forever by Melissa Kantor

Best friends Jane, Victoria, and Natalya, who call themselves the Darlings, find their relationship tested when they start their freshman year at three very different high schools.

Flirt Club by Cathleen Daly

Through notes and journal entries, best friends and self-proclaimed “drama geeks” Cisco (Izzy) and the Bean (Annie) write of the trials of middle school, as well as their efforts to attract boys by forming a Flirt Club.

Geek by E. Archer

Ralph is asked to spend the summer with his strange British relatives at their old manor house in order to set up their Wi-Fi network. And thus begins his strange adventure.

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon (book 2 in the Chronicles of Nick series)

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul. His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to do things he can’t even mention, and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him. But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Seventeen-year-old Emma Paxton steps into the life of her long-lost twin Sutton to solve her murder, while Sutton looks on from her afterlife.

Plague by Michael Grant (book 4 in the  Gone series)

A deadly, flu-like epidemic and a plague of flesh-eating creatures threaten the lives of the children at Perdido Beach while Sam, Astrid, Caine, and Diana each struggle with doubts and uncertainties.

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

Living in a village in Ecuador, a Quechua Indian girl is sent to work as an indentured servant for an upper class “mestizo” family.

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Two high school rivals compete in a prestigious singing competition while reflecting on the events that turned them from close friends to enemies the year before.

Stay by Deb Caletti

In a remote corner of Washington State where she and her father have gone to escape her obsessive boyfriend, Clara meets two brothers who captain a sailboat, a lighthouse keeper with a secret, and an old friend of her father who knows his secrets.

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Sixteen-year-old Tansy is used to moving every time her mother starts writing a new book, but in the small Texas town where her grandfather grew up, she is lured into the world of a troubled young man whose death sixty years earlier is shrouded in mystery.

You can reserve your copy from home by accessing your account on our website.

2011 quick picks for reluctant young adult readers

The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced their 2011 selections for reluctant young adult readers. This list is geared towards ages 12-18, and are chosen as high interest books, meaning that even the most hesitant of teenagers will likely pick up at least one of these books willingly.

Here are the “quick picks”:

Scrawl by Mark Shulman

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Matched by Ally Condie

You by Charles Benoit

Solitary: Escape from the Furnace, Book 2 by Alexander Gordon Smith

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Rikers High by Paul Volponi

You can find all of these books at the library. You can find the complete list at ALA’s website.

In case you missed them – recent posts

Hunger Games movie casting news!

The books that almost won (a spotlight on the Newbery honor books)

The “other” book awards (award winning books that didn’t win the Newbery or Caldecott)

Mystery? Adventure? International art scandal? Yes, please! (Blue Balliett’s smart mystery series for middle readers)

Shhh…The Name of This Book is Secret (another fun series for ages 9-12 by Pseudonymous Bosch)

Love history? Read historical fiction! (a list of historical fiction for middle school and high school readers)

Hunger Games movie casting news!

The hugely popular Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is being made into a movie, set for release on March 23,  2012. Several of the characters have already been cast, including tough heroine Katniss Everdeen, who is to be played by Kentucky’s very own Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss

Peeta and Gale were recently announced as well, with newcomers Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth slated to play the two male leads.

Liam Hemsworth as Gale

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta

Another young newcomer was just announced today – Willow Shields has been selected to play Prim, younger sister of Katniss.

Willow Shields as Prim

The tributes from Districts 1 and 11 have also been cast. Check out the Official Hunger Games Movie Facebook Page and Twitter to catch the latest casting news! (It looks like Haymitch and Effie Trinket are the next characters to be announced!)

Are you happy with the choices so far? Sound off in the comments! And if you’re late to the Hunger Games craze, check out all three books at the library today!

The books that almost won

While we’re on the topic of award winning books, let’s look at some of the Newbery honor books over the years. The Newbery Award is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year and has been around since 1922.

Each year, only 1 book gets the gold (or bronze, in this case) medal. And each year  around 2 – 7 books get the “honor” title. Let’s pay tribute to those honor books that almost won “the most distinguished  American children’s book award.”

2011 Honor Books:

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm (Don’t let the girly cover fool you – boys will love this book, too!)

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

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2010 Honor Books:

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice  by Phillip Hoose

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate  by Jacqueline Kelly

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon  by Grace Lin

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg  by Rodman Philbrick

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2009 Honor Books:

The Underneath  by Kathi Appelt, illus. by David Small

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle

Savvy by Ingrid Law

After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

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2008 Honor Books:

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

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2007 Honor Books:

Penny from Heaven  by  Jennifer L. Holm

Hattie Big Sky  by  Kirby Larson

Rules  by  Cynthia Lord

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2006 Honor Books:

Whittington  by  Alan Armstrong, illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by  Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Princess Academy  by  Shannon Hale

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

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2005 Honor Books:

Al Capone Does My Shirts by  Gennifer Choldenko

The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights”  by Russell Freedman

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

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To find the complete list of Newbery Honor Books (and all the winners), click here.

The “other” book awards

The Newbery and Caldecott Awards are the most well known and highly regarded honors for children’s books. However, each year many other books are given awards. Here’s just a few of the most recent winners (and runners up!):

Michael L. Printz Award

This an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

2011 Winner -

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

2011 Honor Books -

Nothing by Janne Teller

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

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Schneider Family Book Award

This award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

2011 Middle School Winner -

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

Although Jeff and Tad, encouraged by a new friend, Lindsey, make a deal to help one another overcome aftereffects of their cancer treatments in preparation for eighth-grade graduation, Jeff still craves advice from his older brother Stephen, who is studying drums in Africa.

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Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

This award, established in 2004, is given annually (beginning in 2006) to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children’s literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.

2011 Winner -

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

Two roller-skating best friends–one tiny, one tall–share three comical adventures involving outrageously bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion.

2011 Honors -

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! written and illustrated by Grace Lin

We Are in a Book! written and illustrated by Mo Willems

And don’t forget to vote for your favorite book for children’s book week! Vote here!

Mystery? Adventure? International art scandal? Yes, please!

If you enjoy classics like E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, you’ll love Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, book one in this fast-paced and suspenseful three-part series.

Join eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder as they use their brains to track down who stole a famous Vermeer painting. Puzzles and codes abound in this exciting mystery, and illustrations by Brett Helquist (who illustrated the Lemony Snicket books) liven up the story as well.

Balliett’s publisher Scholastic has a fun, interactive website that includes clues and games related to the books. Check it out here! And don’t forget to pick up your copy (or the whole series!) today at your library!

Book 1: Chasing Vermeer  

Book 2: The Wright 3 

Book 3: The Calder Game 

Ages 9-12; grades 5-8

Shhh…The Name of This Book is Secret

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch



Do not let the narrator talk you out of reading this book. He’ll try to threaten you by telling you the book’s secret is dangerous. He’ll try to confuse you by telling you he’s coming up with fake names for his characters. He’ll even try to get you to bribe him with special chocolate. Don’t worry, the narrator is a real blabbermouth and he’s got a story that’s so exciting he can’t keep from telling it.

Cass, the heroine, is a worrier and Max-Ernest, her partner in mystery solving, talks non-stop. The narrator says these are not their real names, but you won’t care about their names, you’ll be sucked into their adventures. Almost before they know it Cass and Max-Ernest are involved in a mystery filled with puzzles, palindromes and secret codes as they work to discover a secret left behind by a magician. They have the magician’s box filled with small containers of smelly liquids, they know about his hidden room, and they figured out his coded secret book?all but the missing ending. When they realize an artsy kid from their school has been kidnapped by strange adults who are also seeking the magician’s secret, they know they’ve got to solve the mystery! That kid is only one of many missing children who have synesthesia, an ailment that unites the senses.

Cass and Max-Ernest will have to use all of their senses in this mystery that looks, smells, and feels rotten!

This is number 1 in the Secret series by Pseudonymous Bosch. Books 1-4 may be found at the library! Check one out today!

(Ages 9-12; grades 4-7)

*BookTalk by Susie Wilde

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