Monday, April 24, 2017

13 Reasons Why -- revisited

In 2008 Allison wrote the KTB review for a compelling new book, 13 Reasons Why   I loved the book so much that when I met Jay Asher at ALA, I bought ten copies of the book so that my daughter would have plenty to give away as she met people who needed to read it.  We only had two left after she finished high school.  Now the kids at my school are talking all about the new Netflix series.   It took me almost as long to watch it as it took Clay to listen to the tapes.  I had to take breaks to breathe and to absorb. But I finally did finish.
I remember way back when I heard that Selena Gomez was interested in playing Hannah - I wasn't too thrilled about her portraying Hannah.  Several years have passed and she is, instead,  the Executive Producer on the final project and she did the original text justice!  So much depth and added back story.  I loved it with all of my heart.  And after the 13 episodes came 13 Reasons Why - Behind the Reasons.  Don't forget to watch that part!  It talks about the care that was taken during production, about choices that lead to suicide, about rape culture, and so much more.  They have also set up a website for anyone who needs support.
I have always thought 13 Reasons Why was a masterpiece and now the visual component is a new touchstone when it comes to  teen viewing.
If truly feel sorry for those who dismiss Hannah as a stupid girl who killed herself.  Is it a lack of empathy?  Hits too close to a nerve? I don't know.  But I have never forgotten her - and I never will. --Cindy

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turissi - OPTIONAL

Turrisi, Kim Just a Normal Tuesday, 244 pages.  Kids Can Press, 2017.  $18.  Language: R (50+ swears, 20 ‘f’); Violence: PG-13 (suicide); Mature Content: R (drugs and alcohol; implied sex)

Until Kai comes home and opens the mail, the day is just Tuesday.  But forevermore it will be the day that Kai’s beloved older sister committed suicide and there was nothing Kai could have done to prevent it.  As she and her parents try to process their grief, Kai descends into chaos and self-flagellation.  In a desperate ploy to help their struggling daughter, the parents send to her a grief camp.  There Kai will hopefully find her feet in this new, unwanted, normal. 

Turrisi’s look at Kai grief is raw and wonderful.  The camp is a month long and I had to allow for something looking as is they happened quickly because of the limitations of space and pages.  I wish, however, that Turrisi had concentrated on Kai’s journey towards healing without oh so conveniently falling in “forever” love with another camper.   That just added a trite element to the story, no matter how hard Turrisi strived to make it feel authentic.  High school students will be able to process and use this lovely book the best.

HS – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Pirates of the Caribbean by Xavier Atencio - ADVISABLE

Atencio, Xavier Pirates of the Caribbean, illustrations by Mike Wall.  PICTURE BOOK.  Dsiney, 2017.  $18. 9781484727867

Wall’s new illustrations are a refreshing counterpoint to the classic song that no one really knows except for the Yo-Ho part of the chorus!  Now, whether you want your child to really learn the lyrics or not is up to you.  But there are no bad surprises here – it is exactly like going through the ride and hearing the narration and song there.  I found it a rollicking good time.  Pirates used to scare the beejeebers out of me as a child and I still love it!  The book includes the classic soundtrack to listen to as you read and sing the book.

EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE (great illustrations!), GIFT – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs - ESSENTIAL

Gibbs, Stuart Panda-monium (funjungle #4), 337 pages.  Simon, 2017.  $17.  Language: G; Mature Content: PG (dolphin strips off people’s shorts); Violence: G.

FunJungle and panda fans are over the moon that a panda is being loaned to them by the Chinese government and another zoo.  When the truck arrives, however – no panda!  Who kidnapped the precious panda and how did they pull it off?  It is up to Teddy to solve the mystery, even if he doesn’t want to step on the FBI’s toes, before FunJungle is ruined, the panda starves to death, and before the Chinese government declares this an international incident.

Because of the considerations of the panda’s health, the timeline for the action in the book was severely compressed.  I don’t know if Large Marge suddenly becoming Teddy’s ally signals the end to the series, but I certainly hope not!  Gibbs masterfully crafts mysteries of all sorts and I can’t wait to read even more!

EL, MS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

An Elephant and Pig BIGGIE! by Mo Willems - ESSENTIAL

Willems, Mo An Elephant and Pig BIGGIE!  PICTURE BOOKS.  Hyperion (Disney), 2017 (reprints).  $17.  9781484799673

Five Elephant and Piggie classics are together in one omnibus edition for days of Elephant and piggy fun!  Pefect for bedtime reading.  This reminds of the Frog and Toad omnibus that my on and I read together many times.  No going wrong with this favorite duo!

Pre-K, EL (K-3), GIFT – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan-ADVISABLE

Khan, Joshua, ill. by Ben Hibon. pgs. 336. Disney Hyperion, 2016. $16.99. Language: G, Mature Content: PG, Violence: PG

Captured by slavers while trying to locate his father, Thorn is purchased by Tyburn, an executioner who works for the House Shadow. Agreeing to work a year and a day in exchange for his freedom, Thorn heads to Castle Gloom with Tyburn. There, he meets Lily Shadow. Except for her drunk of an uncle, her family was all recently murdered by a group of assassins. Tyburn managed to kill all but one and now that assassin seems to be back to murder Lily and Lily's betrothed may be the one who hired them. With no ideas who to trust, Thorn begins to look into what happened.  As he and Tyburn look into the threat, however, Thorn starts to wonder if his father may be mixed up in it all. Could his father really be an assassin or is it Lily's obnoxious betrothed? Can Thorn save Lily?

The characters in this novel are amazingly well developed and the author does a great job of building the mystery behind their pasts. The plot is complex, engaging, and easily draws the reader into the story. Fans of mystery, magic, adventure, and fantasy will enjoy reading this book.

EL, MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Before & After by Jean Jullien - ADVISABLE

Jillien, Jean Before & After. BOARD BOOK. Phaidon Press, 2017. $12.95. Content: G. 

This is a wonderful book to share with a child! There is a “before” picture, turn the page for an after picture, and then you can talk about “what happened?” A two color cat licking his paw (before) a White sparkly cat (after) what happened? Yellow lines become spaghetti, which came first the Chicken or the egg? Even a fold out page for a “during”. 

This is a lot of fun! 

PRE-K ADVISABLE. Lisa Librarian

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall - OPTIONAL

Gornall, Louise Under Rose-Tainted Skies, 326 pages. Clarion Books, 2017. $17.99. Language: R (64 swears, 14 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG Violence: PG (A burglary) 

Since Norah was diagnosed with Agoraphobia when she was fourteen, her teenager years have felt isolating and painful. She has great support from her mother and therapist, but she still feels she’ll never see any of her dreams realized. But when a kind boy moves in next door, she realizes that it is possible to not be judged for her mental illness. Her whole world changes as she slowly acquaints herself with her first friend, and he teaches her that her dreams are not so out of reach.  

Under Rose- Tainted Skies is a novel I’d say I admire but do not love. While the author did a fantastic job portraying a character living with mental illness, the dialogue was stilted and the romance an unneeded add on that seemed to be the only external thing happening throughout the entirety of the novel. However, despite its flaws, the climax of this story had me extremely engaged. It just took a bit too long to get that point of enjoyment. 

HS- OPTIONAL. Student Reviewer: JD, 12th grade