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Baby elephant walk March 31, 2008

Posted by sneaks in adult, coloring pages, display topics, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, nonfiction, spring.
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Congratulations to mother and zoo on the recent birth of the first pachyderm born in Baltimore since the last ice age! Despite much-publicized financial problems, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore was able to care for the mother, 24-year-old Felix, sufficiently well during her 22 months of pregnancy, that delivery of the 290 pound calf was relatively smooth.

Support the zoo by fanning the flames of interest in our new Marylander with a display of elephantine materials. Scour the 599’s, pull books about Africa from 960 and 916, and highlight Alexander McCall Smith’s Akimbo and the Elephant.

PrintableBaby elephant coloring pages available here and here.
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Orioles Opening Day March 31, 2008

Posted by sneaks in spring.
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It may seem difficult to get worked up about the Orioles’ home opener today, after ten losing seasons and in the wake of tragedy at the ballpark. Plus it’s raining.

What this day needs is a bright shiny display of optimistic baseball books. Grab whatever looks good from the 796‘s, add in some Dan Gutman novels, a little Rich Wallace, and a couple of biographies of baseball heroes like Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, and you’ve got yourself a display! (Putting out the Cal Ripken books might actually just rub salt in the wounds, but that’s your call!)

And I won’t quit til I’m a star March 25, 2008

Posted by sneaks in display topics, E, Fall, J is for Juvenile.
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…on BROADWAY!!!

Has William Steig’s gruesome ogre Shrek achieved enough? Three blockbuster movies, video games, his face on a box of breakfast cereal, Happy Meal toys that make parents want to scream, and Stanley Tucci reading his words on tape are apparently not enough for the big green farting machine.

This fall, Shrek and Fiona, Donkey and Dragon and all their pals will appear in a Broadway musical entitled, “The Outsider in Postwar Children’s Literature”. No, no. It’ll be called “Shrek the Musical“. Casting is just about complete.

Children’s Choice Book Awards March 25, 2008

Posted by sneaks in display topics, J is for Juvenile, spring.
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Vote early! Vote often! Wait, no, only if you’re a kid.

These are the Children’s Choice Book Awards, awarded in honor of Children’s Book Week (May 18-12). INNTERESTING nominees. There is series nonfiction in there, graphic novels, and one of the seemingly endless number of recent Beowulf adaptations.

“Favorite Author” seems a little more predictable, putting J.K. Rowling up against Jeff Kinney and Erin Hunter. “Favorite Illustrator” pits Jan Brett against Mo Willems and Brian Selznick, among others, heavyweights all.

Stay tuned for the exciting results! 

It ain’t easy being green March 22, 2008

Posted by sneaks in great ideas, nonfiction, spring.
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El Mariachi

Here’s a cute idea courtesy The YA YA YAS, a trio of Young Adult librarians in Hawaii. For March, Gayle made a green-themed display, with books on money, veggies, the environment, and other subjects associated with the color green.

Does it work for other colors?

Blue: blues music, depression, the tropics, the moon

Yellow: the sun? cowardice? bananas? Ok, it doesn’t work for yellow.

Red: Communism, Chinese history, Russian history, the Red Baron, apples, various sports teams, anger, volcanoes, fire

Orange: Florida, citrus fruits… doesn’t really work for orange either.

Purple: royalty, grapes, wine, mountains

Truth and consequences March 9, 2008

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, fiction, nonfiction.
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In light of all the publicity surrounding Margaret B. Jones‘s faux memoir, Love and Consequences, and BCPL’s decision to keep the book, but label it as fiction, how about a display of recent popular autobiographies, both real and fallacious?

Running with scissors and other books by Augusten Burroughs (true)

Misha : a mémoire of the Holocaust years by Misha Defonseca (false)

The discomfort zone : a personal history by Jonathan Franzen (true)

A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard, by James Frey (false)

The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy by Robert Leleux (true)

Sarah by J. T. LeRoy (false)

Confessions of a video vixen and The vixen diaries by Karrine Steffans (true, but pretty hard to believe)

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (true)

Fragments : memories of a wartime childhood by Binjamin Wilkomirski (false)

Keeping tabs on the scribblers March 9, 2008

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, great ideas, J is for Juvenile.
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Whenever an author speaks in our area, we notice an increase in queries about that person. Wouldn’t it be great to know ahead of time when someone like Michael Chabon or Lisa See was going to be in town? Then we could merchandize that author’s books, along with similar works by other authors.

Now you can, with the online database BookTour. Started by Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, BookTour magically ascertains your location and tells you which authors are planning a visit, as well as letting you browse the schedule of your favorite author or your favorite venue. You can get updates via email, on your calendar – you can even zoom around the world and through time to find your favorite authors, using BookTour’s GoogleEarth interface.

LibraryThing Local offers similar listings, though it is more venue-centric than author-centric. Between the two of these tools, it’s a lot easier nowadays to keep abreast of local literary happenings.

For teens, history is so last week March 9, 2008

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, J non-fiction, nonfiction, YA.
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A recent study undertaken by the new educational research and advocacy organization Common Core has found that:

many of America’s high school students do not possess the basic knowledge they need to succeed in the world or to achieve their full potential as democratic citizens. The report, entitled Still at Risk: What Students Don’t Know, Even Now, shows that, twenty-five years after the publication of the landmark study, A Nation at Risk, America’s children continue to demonstrate a stunning ignorance about basic facts of U.S. history and literature. Overall, the 1,200 17-year-olds surveyed earned a “D.”

  • Nearly a quarter cannot identify Adolf Hitler, with ten percent thinking Hitler was a munitions manufacturer.
  • More than a quarter think Christopher Columbus sailed after 1750.
  • Fewer than half can place the Civil War in the correct half-century.
  • A third do not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of speech and religion.
  • Half have no idea what the Renaissance was.
  • Nearly half think that The Scarlet Letter was either about a witch trial or a piece of correspondence.

Ouch! Take the test yourself (PDF), and then how about putting together a display of historical fiction, classics, and the most gripping history books you can find? You could even print copies of the quiz and challenge parents and teens to compare their scores.

The GWB Center for kids who don’t read good – update March 6, 2008

Posted by sneaks in fun.
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The nominees have been chosen in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Back-of-the-Envelope Design Contest” for the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

View them here. If you wish to vote, free registration is required.

Not for wimps only March 3, 2008

Posted by sneaks in J fiction, J is for Juvenile.
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid is an unusual book. A combination of cartoons and writing, it’s well beyond your average illustrated chapter book, but it’s not quite a graphic novel. It’s not an adventure novel, there are NO elements of fantasy in it, and the main character, Greg, learns no valuable life lessons. It is funny, and anarchic, and full of farting.

In short, it is a gift from above for 5th grade boys. Luckily for them, there are 5 books planned for the series, and Fox 2000 has just signed on to do a movie. The second book in the series has just come out. Called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, it is more of the same, except blue.

The author, Jeff Kinney, was interviewed in the Baltimore Sun this weekend, and as of this morning, all copies of both books are checked out – with a hold queue.

Click “more” for some read-alike suggestions for a “Wimpy” book display:

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