Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blind Date with a Book

For students who might not have a book boyfriend or book babe in his/her life, there's always the chance of meeting a potential book crush on a book blind date. My fabbo new intern, Janet Allen, approached me with this idea, and I said, "Start your matchmaking!" The idea is to pull books, wrap them up, and then give students the opportunity to choose a book to take on a date (y'know, check-out) and see if they're compatible. Who knows, he/she might even fall in love with the book! We ask they at least give the book a few chapters before kicking it to the curb, and who knows - it might be love and the student will want to go out with other books by that author or in that genre. The idea is to step outside your book dating comfort zone and try something new!

Every student who goes on a book blind date can report back with a brief review letting us know if he/she'd give it a rose or send it packing home. Regardless of the outcome, there's the consolation prize of some candy for taking a chance on book love.

We wrapped books that girls might like in pink, and books for guys in red to help guide their choices. Like people, books come in all sizes - some went for skinny, some chunky, some short and some tall. We did discover that it might be best to choose books that are high interest and entertaining but maaaaaybe haven't been on a date in awhile. Some of our kids who are BIG readers opened 2-3 books before they found one they hadn't read. I teased a couple of the girls that that's what they get for being such book sluts! We decided that would be an awesome name for a girls' book club at school...except our administration probably wouldn't find it as amusing as we do. ;-) Also, don't forget to throw some cool nonfiction books in there - nonfiction books need love too!!

Taylor and Jennifer meeting their book blind dates...

...and pretty pleased with the results. Taylor normally
sticks with Orca Soundings, but she's giving her date,
Girls Against Girls, a chance and has even reported
back on some of the facts about girl drama
she's learned from the book. Jennifer is a huge vampire fan,
but she's willing to give Brutal and it's take on bullying a chance.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Boyfriends and Babes...

February is one of my favorite months being a school librarian, because it's all about the LOVE. What better way to get teens pumped for Valentine's Day and all things romance than to get them to share their book crushes? When I was sixteen, I read S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders for the first time and fell hard for bad boy Dallas Winston (didn't hurt that I had Matt Dillon as a visual!). He may have been rude, crude and rough around the edges, but his loyalty to Johnny and Ponyboy ("Let's do it for Johnny!") and vulnerability in the presence of Cherry Valance made me want to rip him from the pages and save him from the Socs and his own self-destructive ways with my love. Why did Dallas Winston have to be a fictional character?!! And why did S.E. Hinton have to go and kill him?!!!!!!

Dallas wasn't the first or last book boyfriend I'd lose to death. My most recent book boyfriend would have to be The Fault in Our Stars' Augustus Waters. C'mon, a boy who'd battled and overcome cancer, lost a leg to that cancer, but remained full of humor and hope to the point he'd fly thousands of miles overseas to make a dream come true for his terminal girlfriend Hazel? *sigh* *sniff* It's no wonder that Hazel loved you as she did, and when you died I sobbed for your family, Hazel and my heartbroken inner-teen self! 

So who are today's teen book boyfriends and book babes? For February, my students are sharing that with me and our school with this display...

I found an online candy hearts maker that allowed me to add the names of some of the more popular book crushes in recent series - Lola, Cricket, Bella, Jacob, Edward, Patch, Alex, Carlos, Luis (Fuentes brothers! *fans self*), Fang, Clary, Jace, Gale, Katniss, Peeta, Tris, Ron, Hermione, Harry, Augustus, Hazel, and Starfire (manga babe!). I have colorful cut-outs hearts that the students complete with info on their book boyfriend/babe, the name of the book, and why that character is so crushable. Snap a pic of the student, and we're good to go and swoon!

So far, the Simone Elkeles' Fuentes brothers seem to be garnering the most love from the girls, while Katniss is rocking the guys' world. I only started the display this past week and hope to add many more hearts down the hallway as we get into February!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Y.A. Books Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You...

My students are uber-excited about the upcoming movie, Warm Bodies. Like all things Zombie these days, the book has been a hit in our library, and once the movie trailer hit YouTube, students have been marking the days on their calendars until the Feb. 1 release. It doesn't hurt that the main character "R" is played by cutie Nicholas Hoult. ;-)

But Warm Bodies isn't the only popular teen read seeing a movie release this year. In the next few months, hot Y.A. titles like Beautiful Creatures, The Host, and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will also hit the big screen, while adult books also marketed to teens, such as Safe Haven and World War Z (there go those zombies again!), are being touted as must-sees by my boo's too.

To tap in to the Y.A. cinema craze, I created this poster featuring the book covers, projected release dates, and QR codes for the movie trailers. For all the fans of the book Warm Bodies, I still have students coming in to say, "I didn't know that was a book! Can I read it before I see the movie next week?" Annnnnnnd that's the idea. ;-) FYI - if my school is any indication, you may want to pick up some extra copies of these titles because demand is HIGH.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Mustache You a Question...What Have You Been Reading?

Okay, so obviously I'm late to the mustache party, but better late than never...

I can honestly say this reading display has been one of my most popular since teens love 'em some fake mustaches! Amazingly, I didn't come across anyone - jock, goth, nerd, cheerleader, *insert stereotype here* - who thought he/she was too cool to don a 'stache. Afterall, teens are hams at heart. ;-)

All I did was Google some mustache styles, cut 'em out, slap on some masking tape, and capture students posing with their current reads whether it be books or magazines. Took the opportunity to quiz them on their reads too - like whether they liked it, why they chose that particular book, etc. This display is also a work in progress as volunteers keep coming up with their books and asking for a mustache so they can be included.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Burning Blue – Paul Griffin
Who threw acid on Nicole Castro’s face? That’s the mystery that drives Paul Griffin’s lastest book, Burning Blue. Nicole has it all. She’s a pageant queen, but she’s also athletic and smart – part of the tennis team and president of the National Honor Society. There’s a lot of haterade to be felt for someone so seemingly perfect – and that’s what makes Burning Blue such a cool read, because all is not as it seems.

Late on her way to chemistry class, Nicole is accosted and doused in the face with acid from a squirt bottle. It all happens so fast, she never catches sight of the culprit. One side of her face completely burned and ruined, the list of suspects include her wrestling boyfriend, her best friends, a school janitor, a bitter teacher, a reporter desperate for big news stories, and other random students who potentially had a problem with the star student. Enter Jameson “Jay” Nazarro, a loner who feels a kinship of sorts with the newly damaged Nicole when he runs into her outside the guidance counselor’s office. Jay knows what it’s like to be considered a “freak” – he’s prone to seizures, and nobody likes hanging out with a guy who at any moment might spazz on the floor and pee himself, right? Years of lonertude have enabled Jay to hone his computer hacking and stalking skills, so he goes to work hacking emails and cell phones to track down the person behind Nicole’s life-altering attack.
Griffin doesn’t delve deep into the impact of the attack on Nicole’s own psyche, though she's got issues for sure; rather he keeps the focus on tracking down the broken psyche of a person who would do something so cruel to another human being. Because Nicole and Jay aren’t written as wimpering victims but wittily acerbic survivors, the reader pulls for them finding out the truth and Griffin keeps the suspects, plot twists and red herrings a’comin’. At times, I felt like I needed a scorecard to keep up with all the suspects and their possible motivations, but to his credit, Griffin knows how to write strong teen dialogue and keep things moving. Hand this to guys and girls looking for a good mystery.