Blogs

magneto cover

 

Graphic novels, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

  • Your length is the perfect match for my commitment issues.
  • There’s so many choices, it’s difficult what to check out first.
  • You never cease to surprise me.

 

After catching up on Cullen Bunn’s Sixth Gun series, I looked for more of his work and discovered Magneto. It’s a short (four collected books) story following him as he explores a world of diminished power amid a strong legacy.

Not an X-Men aficionado?  Don't worry. Bunn successfully explores Magneto's inner workings in a way that doesn’t require a master’s degree from Marvel UniversityIn fact, it may just pull you in...

 

The Spitting Image book coverWhat images come to mind when you think about the Vietnam War?  Napalm explosions? Monks setting themselves on fire?  Jungle camouflage and booby traps?  Vietnam Vets waving protest signs and shouting?

Wait, what?  Soldiers protesting  the war? That can’t be right, it was the radical college students and long haired hippies that protested the war, right? Not according to  Jerry Lenkcke in his thought-provoking book, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam.  

While doing research about the way society viewed the returning Vietnam vets, Lenkcke kept coming across the mention of soldiers getting off the plane on American soil and being spit on by anti-war, anti-draft protesters. Intrigued, he decided to find the source for this image - was it symbolic or did it really happen?  Could he find an example of it?

What he discovered kept me enthralled. I don’t think I will ever look at a picture of a soldier the same way again.                            

The book is well-researched, documented and supplemented by a complete filmography. If you are interested in how the media changes the way that we see the world, read The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam by Jerry Lenkcke.                                                                               

Orient by bookjacketIt’s been a cold, wet, icy winter so far; the perfect time to curl up under the covers with a big, riveting book.

Here are three books I’ve been reading lately while curled up under my afghan:

Orient by Christopher Bollen. It’s 600 pages of intrigue, murders, art, gentrification, outsiders with unknown pasts. Oh, and a weird gruesome animal mutant that might haveThe Marriage Book bookjacket been caused by a nearby biological research lab. And best of all, I didn’t guess the murderer.

The Marriage Book: Centuries of Advice, Inspiration, and Cautionary Tales from Adam & Eve to Zoloft by husband and wife, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen Adler. This is an A-to-Z treasury of marriage and anything that possibly is related to marriage. There are entries from a gamut of sources: philosophers, authors, Selp-Helf bookjacketcomedians, and poets talking about Adam and Eve to divorce to everything in between. And always remember the African proverb: "Never marry a woman with bigger feet than your own."

Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings. A book filled with ridiculous advice on how to be a better person because sometimes you just need something silly.

 

Children Of The Sun CoverNeo-nazism and punk rock share ugly and now pretty well-tracked genealogies.  Less well-documented is the once-occulted presence and resilience of gay desire amidst UK white power subcultures and splinter groups like the National Front and the British National Party. 

Max Schaefer's Children of the Sun relentlessly confronts this seeming contradiction via a time-bending collision between two queer protagonists interspersed with insanely well-researched documentation from the "golden years" of UK neo-nazi skinhead culture (roughly late 1970s-about 1990 or so).  Schaefer walks a fine line between unsparing and sympathetic in the development of Tony, a working class teen coming of age as a gay man AND a (hidden) racist skinhead.  Tony's narrative moves forward through a landscape of real-life UK far-right figures (Nicky Crane, Ian Stuart of Skrewdriver, Nick Griffin, Savitri Devi) as James, a mid-20s queer privileged "screenwriter" bankrolled by his well-to-do parents in 2003 becomes increasingly obsessed with the confused collisions between gay subcultures and UK white power movements - Nicky Crane in particular - poster boy for the NF's violent street fighters and who also came out as gay in 1992, months before he died from an AIDs-related illness. 

Schaefer's text reads like a police report, rarely stopping for extended emotional interludes (though when they do come, they hit hard).  Knowing something of Schaefer's personal background, it was never unclear where he stands in terms of the "politics" of his protagonists.  That being said, the narrative never clearly impugns Tony or James (in fact, James comes off more of a problematic dude in the end - which may have much to do with class, Schaefer implies).  Highly recommended for anyone interested in darker cultural histories.

Enchanted Air bookjacketThe Pura Belpre Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

The award is named after Pura Belpre, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library who worked tirelessly with the Puerto Rican community.

The Author Award Winner - Enchanted Air - Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle is a poetic narrative of Margarita childhood living in two separated worlds during the cold war. Her story is described exquisitely and takes us to Los Angeles California where she spends most of the time and Cuba her beloved island. When the Cuban Revolution breaks down, Margarita fears for her family and her both worlds collide.

Illustrator Award Winner - Drum Dream Girl  illustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle is a tale about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl in 1930s Cuba, who became a world-renowned drummer.

Check more award winners in our catalog.

 

 

Two women at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel operating tickers and stock exchange boards, December 11, 1918.Tracking down a historical stock price can be really easy... except when it’s really hard. It is a common question that we get at the library during tax season.

Here is an example of an easy stock price search.

1. A stock price is needed for a company for a particular date. (Let’s say Nike on February 13, 2009.)
2. You go to a website with historical stock information (like Yahoo! Finance or Wall St. Journal’s MarketWatch), search for the company name or ticker symbol, and voila! You have the closing price for that day. (Keep in mind that the closing price may or may not already be adjusted.)

But this only works if the company is still in business and hasn’t changed names, hasn’t been involved in a merger or acquisition, and is still trading on the stock exchange under the same ticker symbol. If any of those situations are not the case, the historical price that you need might not be available online.

Take, for example, Macy’s, which went public in 1922 under the name R.H. Macy, and which for many years traded under the symbol MZ. You won’t easily find historical stock prices from before 1992 for this company on Yahoo! Finance or in other online databases because in 1992 Macy’s merged with Federated Department Stores. (Thanks to New York Public Library for this example!)

Steps for trickier stock price searches.

So how does someone get a historical stock price from before 1992 for Macy’s, or for any other company whose historical prices aren’t online? There are two steps: first, researching the company history to find out any information about different names, ticker symbols, and listings on stock exchanges; and second, looking in a newspaper or newspaper database for the date that you need. The library can help you with both of these steps.

Step 1: Research the company history.

This step can require a little detective work. It is where you figure out the name and ticker symbol of the company or security at the time of the historical price and the stock exchange which it was trading on. Here are several sources that the library offers for learning about a company’s history (you may need to look at more than one of them in order to get a full sense of a company’s history):

  • Capital Changes Reporter: Lists capital changes (such as mergers and splits) for companies, by date, and includes information about stock exchanges and ticker symbols that the company traded under. Available in print in the Science & Business room at Central Library, or online through the CCH Intelliconnect database.
  • International Directory of Company Histories: Provides detailed corporate histories for many companies, both U.S. and international. There are currently 156 volumes. Available in print in the Science & Business room at Central Library, or online through the Gale Virtual Reference Library database (note: the most recent volumes are only available in print).
  • Mergent Intellect: Available through the library website. A database with lots of information about companies, including company histories.
  • Directory of Obsolete Securities: Lists and gives brief info for companies and banks whose original identities have been lost to events like changes in name, acquisitions, mergers, or bankruptcy. Available in print in the Science & Business room at Central Library.
  • EDGAR: This is not a library resource, but it is freely available online through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and we can help you if you have trouble using it! It contains many documents that public companies are required to submit to the SEC, including company reports.

Step 2: Look up the historical price in a newspaper or other source from that historical date.

Once you have done some research about the company whose stock price you are looking for (and hopefully learned their name, ticker symbol, and the stock exchange they were traded on at the time of the historical price), you are ready to find the stock price in a newspaper or other source from that time. Note that you’ll want to look at a newspaper or publication for the day immediately after the date for which you need the price, since the price would not have been published until the next day’s paper. Here are two sources for this, both of which are available electronically through the library website:

  • New York Times Historical (1851-2009): Contains scans of articles from the New York Times, including stock prices. Choose “Advanced Search,” enter the date that you are looking for in the “Publication Date” section, and choose “Stock quote” from the “Document Type” menu. Leave the other search boxes blank, and do your search. You will retrieve a list of articles containing stock prices - to find the major stock exchanges, choose the articles with the most page numbers, then look in them for the company whose stock price you need.
  • The Historical Oregonian (1861-1987): This database will be most useful for stock prices of companies from the Pacific Northwest. Enter the date you are looking for in the “Date(s)” box, and then do a search in the "All Text" box for a word like NYSE or NASDAQ which would appear on the page with stock prices.

In addition to these electronic databases for the New York Times and the Oregonian, the library also has a number of useful resources available in print and on microfilm at Central Library:

So there you have the basic steps for finding historical stock prices. It can indeed be a little bit of a research project sometimes. But don’t despair! Librarians are happy to talk to you about your particular stock price need, and to help you find the information you are looking for. Just get in touch with us using one of the methods on our Contact a librarian webpage. Happy stock price searching!

Don't let the weather get you down. Listen to Carrie Brownstein read the audio version of her new book- right in between listening to Sleater-Kinney's music, which is almost all immediately available to download through the library. Here's a list of links.

 

The Rose City Rollers league is made up of over 400 smart, tough, accomplished women who skate fast, hit hard, and defy stereotypes about female athletes ...And they read. Check out a list of favorites from Axles of Annihilation, one of the Rose City Rollers’ two All-Stars teams. Want more reading recommendations? Try My Librarian and get a personalized list made just for you.

Avalanche #K2 started playing roller derby in 2010 as a way to make friends here in Portland. When she’s not skating she runs an art gallery and retail store called Land on Mississippi Avenue. She and her 9 year old son love to read!

The Mental Athlete by Kay Porter

Roller derby takes a lot of mental and physical strength. This book has given me a lot of great tips on how to deal with the tough situations. It’s a great guide not just for sports but also for life. We all have different challenges to face and it’s nice to have different ways to combat them head on.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, followed by Inkspell and Inkdeath

A wonderful series of books about books! It’s about a father/book binder named Mortimer. When he reads books aloud, the characters come out of the book and into the real world, but with each character that emerges a new one must return to the book. One night when his daughter Maggie was very young, he accidentally reads his wife into a book called Inkheart. The trilogy follows him and his daughter as they go on a series of adventures trying to find Maggie's mother. One of my favorite parts about this series is that each chapter starts with a quote from a different book, so once I finished the series I had an incredible new list of books to read.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne is a smart, adventurous, young, orphaned redhead. As a young freckle faced redhead growing up in the country, I always felt that Anne and I were meant to be bosom buddies.


Yoga Nabi Sari #808 is a real life Librarian!  She started roller derby around the same time she started graduate school, and grad school was easier.  Nabi graduated with a Masters in Library Science from Emporia State University in August 2012.  During her two years in grad school she worked at the OHSU West Campus Science and Engineering Library and did volunteer work and research for Multnomah County Library.  Nabi currently works as a librarian for a local commercial real estate company.

When Nabi is not skating she enjoys…oh never mind, right now she is skating all the time. When the season is done she will hopefully read more books, see live theater, and do more hot yoga.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Victoria Jamieson aka Winnie the Pow is a fellow skater with Rose City Rollers.  I am lucky enough to be her derby wife and she gave me an advanced copy of her graphic novel.  This beautifully illustrated book captures the heart of this sport.  You don’t have to be involved in roller derby to fall in love with this story!

The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey

Mind Gym: An Athletes Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack

I went on a sports psychology kick this season and read both of these multiple times, and they really helped with my mental game.

Ripley #426 spends her days in two extreme realms, playing roller derby with the Rose City Rollers, and in stark contrast, working professionally as a Child and Family Therapist at a non-profit. Ripley moved from Colorado two years ago to work in the mental health field in Portland and skate with one of the most competitive leagues in the world. She has little time for other activities, although she does enjoy reading, cooking, and international travel, when she can squeeze it in.

The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

A novel of two Afghanistan women in the same family but generations apart, who share similar hardship and struggles in a culture where females have little freedom.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The true story of a World War Two pilot who survives a crash at sea, only to face continued abuse as a prisoner of war.  

The Chosen by Chaim Potok. 

A book about two Jewish boys who grow up in completely different households. The father of each boy recognizes what his son will need to succeed in life, but it comes at cost to the father-son relationship.

Shaolin Spocker #1701 works as a graphic and web designer, professional photographer, and Benevolent Overlord of her own branding design studio, Upswept Creative. When Spocker started roller derby, she still had a day job, and spent a lot of time playing with swords - she practiced the martial art of Wushu for 7 years before her growing fascination with derby took over.

When Spocker isn't skating, you'll often find her indulging in sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming, geeking out about lighting design, baking some serious-business desserts, obsessing over font libraries and color theory, or maybe even singing karaoke.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

I first read this in middle school, and it's always been an important book for me: as a half-Chinese girl growing up in the United States, a lot of the experiences in the book felt familiar, and helped me understand more about the Chinese side of my background.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The entire 5-book “trilogy” was a lot of fun, but the first book always stands out in my mind. It’s an entertaining and funny flip on the science fiction genre, and a must-read for any sci-fi geek.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A lot of people know about the HBO show, but the books came first, and they’re worth the read. It’s not a series for the faint of heart, and you should be careful what characters you get attached to - no one is safe! :-) - but it’s a complex and riveting story that’s really grand in scope.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

I like a lot of Murakami’s work, and this was the first book of his that I found. It’s a story that’s split between two worlds--with odd-numbered chapters about one, and even-numbered chapters about the other! One world that feels a bit cyberpunk-y, and the other more mysterious and otherworldly.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

This book creates an interesting world, where Thai culture and society is at the center, natural food is scarce, and calories are more valuable and coveted than anything else. The story follows multiple characters’ perspectives, and it was fun to watch the story emerge from their individual threads.

My Librarian and our featured guest readers are made possible by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to The Library Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation, and reach through private support.

photo credits: Mercy Shammah - Your Sunday Best Photography www.yoursundaybestphotography.com

Beeny and Penny in Lights Out book jacketWhen I was young and a new reader, I liked books that have now become classics in the beginning reader genre.  Books like Put Me in the Zoo, Are You My Mother?, and Robert the Rose Horse.  I read these over and over and probably have a tattered copy or two tucked away in a box somewhere.  These books are still great (and are still being published), but there are some newer titles and series that are equally as wonderful.  Here are a few of my current favorites.

While I didn’t like comics as a kid, as an adult, I’ve become a convert to graphic novels.  The Toon Books are perfect for new readers who love the comic book format.  Benny and Penny, a brother and sister mouse duo, are some of my favorite Toon characters.  Check out their nighttime adventure in Benny and Penny in Lights Out!.

For the more fact-minded child (or one who simply likes great photos of animals), National Geographic has published a series of readers.Safari book jacket  Who wouldn’t be enticed by the lion cub on the cover of Safari or fascinated by the ugly fish on Weird Sea Creatures?

Ruby Lu Brave and True book jacketFor the more advanced beginning reader, I love the Ruby Lu chapter books by Lenore Look.  Ruby Lu is an irrepressible “almost-8-year-old” who has lots of fun with her friends and Chinese-American family.  There are three so far in the series. Start with Ruby Lu, Brave and True.

Check out our brand new booklists for children at the various stages in their early reading lives. You may find some new favorites!

Welcome to Reading:  Starting out
Welcome to Reading:  Building skills
Welcome to Reading:  Reading more
Welcome to Reading:  On my own

Have you caught the fan fever for The great British Baking show? We sure have here at the Hollywood Teen Book Council. We have fallen in love with a contestant show that we find relaxing, and so "agressively British." 

 We enjoyed the first season that PBS aired which is actually season 5 across the pond, and we loved the hosts, the judges, and the contestants so much that we wanted to give them all gifts. Since we are "all about the books" here is what we think would make the perfect book gift for each of these fine folks.

 

Mary BerryMary Berry

Jane Austin' s Pride and Prejudice

The book that launched thousands of brooding romantic love heros.

 

Paul HollywoodPaul Hollywood

Paul Hollywood’s British Baking by Paul Hollywood

What would Mr. Hollywood like better to read than his own book, full of traditional British baked goods. It is perfection.

 

Sue PerkinsSue Perkins

Yes Please by Amy Poeler

Sue would enjoy hearing what Amy Poehler has to say about life, her own and other people’s

 

Mel GiedroycMel Giedroyc

Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

We’ve picked out a charming and funny novel of a genetics professor looking for love. Will the awkward Don Tillman’s evidence-based Wife Project succeed?

 

ChetnaChetna Makan

Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s dark dystopian tale of a future with women as breeding chattel-a smart book with girl power.

 

Claire GoodwinClaire Goodwin

Sara Dessen' s Just Listen

We want Claire to sit back and enjoy a redemptive story of Annabel, the girl who used to have everything and now has nothing.  Except maybe the attention of Owen will turn her story around.

Diana BeardDiana Beard

Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Ms. Christie’s classic novel of ten strangers invited to a private island will keep Diana turning the pages.

 

Enwezor NzegwuEnwezor Nzegwu

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon

As a busy father, Enwezor will have time to dive into these short personal essays that are by turns hilarious and heartbreaking.

 

Iain WattersIain Watters

The Portlandia Cookbook by Fred Armisen

Iain Watters will have fun sampling the delicious and amusing recipes in this cookbook based on the hit IFC series. Portland will gladly adopt you Ian; you, and your sweaters!

 

Jordan CoxJordan Cox

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

Romanic mistaken-gender comedy in manga form. Jordan we know you appreciate kawaii and food. 

 

Kate HenryKate DiCamilloKate Henry

Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

A tale of a mouse and some soup will warm Kate's heart, plus we think this Kate and Kate DiCamillo are Kate's separated at birth.

 

 

Luis TroyanoLuis Troyano

Uncle Shelby’s ABZ book—Shel Silverstein

Luis will die laughing reading this hilarious children’s book written for adults.

 

 

Martha CollisonMartha Collison

Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Rose Edelstein develops the ability to taste the emotions of the people who cooked the food, making eating difficult as she learns the hidden secrets in her family and others.  Martha will swoon over the story as she thanks her lucky stars she hasn’t suffered the same fate.

 

Nancy BirtwhistleNancy Birtwhistle

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Nancy will be on edge as modern-day Andi Alpers, chock full of rage from a range of losses, finds the diary of a historic actress.

 

Norman CalderNorman Calder

Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing over 50 Herbs, Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and more by Miranda Smith.

Norman would enjoy this illustrated guide to the many uses of many types of herbs.

 

Richard BurrRichard Burr

Gingerbread Architect by Susan Matheson

Perhaps Richard has moved on from the standard gingerbread house and is longing to build a Cape Cod-style abode?  Or maybe a classic Brownstone, Greek Revival or Art Deco creation.  With plans, instructions and pictures, he will have a masterpiece in no time.

 

Who are your favorites from the show? What book would you like to give them?

Teen Book Council as the stars of the Great British Bake Show

Whether you are researching Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, or any country in between, these sources have the facts you need!Photo of a globe

Culturegrams is an encyclopedia in which you can find out about the history of your country, as well the daily lives of its citizens. There are great printable maps and images of the country’s flag and lots of photos. You can even listen to the country’s national anthem or sample recipes! If you aren’t at the Multnomah County Library, you’ll need to log in to the encyclopedia with your library card and PIN. You’ll want to choose the Kids Edition.

Wondering which sights to see in a country? Around the World, from Time for Kids magazine, lists places you won't want to miss. You can also find timelines and learn some words in the country’s language.

At Global Trek, you can learn more about a country and its residents—sometimes from interviews with other students! You can even keep a travel journal.

Looking for a picture of a county’s flag? Just click on the small image at the CIA World Factbook to get a larger printable version of the flag, as well as information about what all its symbols mean.

If you still need help with your research, contact a librarian for more assistance. Bon voyage! 

Need to know the capital of New Jersey? The senators from Hawaii? Or famous people from Oregon? Dig into the sites below to find the answers to those questions and more!United States map

 

If you just need the basic facts about a state, visit State Facts for Students. Here you can find state population, capitals, area, and symbols. 

To dig a little deeper, go to Stately Knowledge, which also lists famous people from each state, professional sports teams, and other fascinating facts. This site also has charts that list the states in order by population, area, and more.

Fact Monster's The Fifty States is similar; it also includes short sections on the history, economy and tourist attractions of each state. Don't miss the links on the first page of this site, which allow you to compare states in a variety of ways and play games or take quizzes to test your knowledge.

Did you know that most states have a website just for kids? Find a list of those sites at Kids.gov's State Websites for Kids

To find articles about a state's history, visit Explore the States. Here you can also find stories about local events and customs.

If you are trying to learn the names of all 50 states, try watching Fifty States That Rhyme, which uses them in a song. Or, if you need to learn the state capitals, watch the States and Capitals Song video.

Finally, if you need a map of a state, visit the National Atlas's list of state maps. You can find several different types of maps for each state; you can either view them online or download a map as a PDF.

Didn't find what you need here? Contact a librarian if you need more help with your research. 

 

 

 

Do you need to know the national holidays of Sri Lanka? Find the agricultural products of Ecuador? Or maybe print an image of the Nigerian flag? You’ve come to the right place!

Culturegrams and Lands and Peoples are encyclopedias in which you can find out about the history and geography of a country, as well the daily lives of its citizens. There are great printable maps and images of the country’s flag and lots of photos. In Culturegrams, you can even listen to the country’s national anthem or sample recipes! If you aren’t at the Multnomah County Library, you’ll need to log in to the encyclopedias with your library card and PIN. 

Image of world mapThe CIA World Factbook has a wealth of information about the geography, people government and economy of countries, most of it in a table format. You can also visit their Flags of the World section to get a printable version of a country’s flag and information about what all its symbols mean.

At Background Notes from the U.S. State Department, you’ll find maps and flags for each country, as well as a history of its relations with the U.S. and links to in-depth country studies from Library of Congress.

The BBC has a page of Country Profiles, which are a good source for current events, as well as fast facts and timelines. And don’t miss National Geographic’s Destinations A-Z, a great source for travel articles, maps and colorful photos.

Not finding what you need here? Contact a librarian for more help.

Are the dark days of winter getting to you? The cold and the rain and the wind bringing you down? Need something to cheer you right up? How about a book or two?

Maira Kalman is a unique, eccentric, whimsical illustrator and writer of both kids' and kid-like adult books. Her illustrations even make William Strunk’s The Elements of Style a fascinating read. Beloved Dog bookjacketHer books are filled with illustrations of the things that she likes, and her likes range far and wide and slightly off-kilter. Kalman’s latest book, Beloved Dog, is dedicated to dogs. I hadn’t noticed that pictures of dogs appear quite often in her works and this book is a lovely ode to dogs. Maira Kalman’s books will cheer you right up.

It Ended Badly bookjacketFor me, a real mood lifter is to compare myself to others who have suffered more than me (Jeez, that sounds terrible. Really, I’m not that awful a person.). We’ve all had to deal with relationship breakdowns. If you’d like to read about some of the absolute worst, peruse Jennifer Wright’s It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History. It’s a fun, entertaining, and quite educational romp through some spectacular breakups. In the course of these breakups, people are stabbed. Prison sentences are served. Icky hair clumps are sent through the mail. It should put all of your own breakups in perspective.

Need some more cheering up? Try one of the books on my list here.

Most Dangerous bookjacketEvery year, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) honors the best young adult book for literary excellence with the Michael L. Printz Award. Last year’s winner was Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun.  This year’s winner will be announced January 10, 2016 during ALA’s Youth Media Awards.

As a way of creating awareness for the award, as well as honing our book evaluation skills, teens, adults, and librarians got together at the Hollywood Library for our own Mock Printz Award. We read eligible titles and put each up against the Printz Award criteria. We spent the afternoon discussing a selection of titles, and then we voted and picked our winner. We also had three honor books.

Our winner was Steve Sheinkin’s thrilling nonfiction account of the Vietnam War and the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Most Dangerous; Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam WarSteve Sheinkin was Multnomah County Library’s Teen Author Lecturer, and Most Dangerous was shortlisted for this year’s National Book Award finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Our honor books were Kevin Brooks gritty, page-turning tale The Bunker DiaryArden Butterfield, Hollywood Teen Book Council member who participated in the workshop writes, “The ending is so surprising, I just stared at the back of the book for about five minutes. This book is amazing, and shocking, and terrifying, and wonderful.”

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt was another honor. A spare novel, about which Arden writes, “This is one of those books that just swells your heart up with love, and then at the last moment throws it on the ground and stabs it with a knife. I would recommend it to everyone.”

We also delighted in the strong characterization of Joan who becomes The Hired Girl in Laura Amy Schlitz’s historical early 20th-century novel.

We will be extending the Mock Printz into a year long excursion. Teens can come and discuss books published in the current year that may be considered examples of literary excellence for readers ages 12–18 and are possible nominees for the ALA’s Printz Award for young adult literature.

Thie Hired Girl bookjacketThe ultimate goal for this group, by year’s end, will be to select the best book written for teens. Group members will choose nominees for a Mock Printz workshop, at which a winner as well as honor books will be voted on and given mock medals. The workshop will be held just before the official Printz Award committee from ALA announces its choice at the YMAs at Midwinter.

Come to the Hollywood Library on February 2 to hear booktalks of upcoming eligible titles, and to learn about award’s criteria through a discussion of American Born Chinese. the 2007 Printz winner. For more information contact Danielle Jones daniellej@multco.us, 503-988-4346.

The Northern Lights book jacketNorthern winters are harsh things, especially when you live in a cabin deep in the woods. When nature calls, you may find yourself sprinting through the snow in the middle of the night, flashlight in hand, dodging moose with giant glowing eyes, just to get to the outhouse. You might have to be pulled on a dogsled attached to a snow machine to get to your baby-sitting job. Your family dog might get eaten by a wolf. You might have to hike ten miles to school in a blizzard, uphill both ways… err wait, that last one isn’t true! But I did experience the rest. Despite all these inconveniences, the north does have its pleasures, and the beauty of the night sky is one of them, especially the chance to see that most elusive atmospheric phenomenon, the northern lights. The ghostly colors that flicker and flare, the cold rays that splinter the darkness into sheets, curtains, coronas… well, it truly is awe-inspiring.

But how do these displays actually work? What forces are behind them? This was what one brilliant scientist in turn-of the-century photo of Kristian BirkelandNorway wondered. Kristian Birkeland was both driven and talented, and his quest to understand the workings of the aurora led him to Norwegian mountaintops and on expeditions to Russia’s far north. He didn’t limit himself to the arctic and also spent time in Africa researching the then-mysterious zodiacal light.  In addition, he was an inventor, and attempted to market creations as diverse as hearing aids, electromagnetic cannons, and methods of producing fertilizer in order to fund the research he truly loved. Even more amazing is the fact he accomplished all this before age 50. Find out more about Kristian Birkeland and the aurora in The Northern Lights by Lucy Jago. This is a great read for those who are interested in the lives of scientists, the history of science, and arctic adventure. And if you want more, look here.

This past year I've become a downloadable audiobook super fan. I still love to read, but I also love to do and audiobooks free up your hands to do so much. For instance:

Knitting: The voice of the grumpy Swede in A Man Called Ove, with his laugh-out-loud rants against "whipper-snappers doing monkey business" proved the perfect companion as I worked (and then re-worked) a poncho called Ella from this book of Danish knits. 

Commuting: O.K. more of a "have to do" than a "love to do" but Hector Tobar's Deep Dark Down: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in A Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free , kept me anxiously looking forward to my work commute for weeks. And so what if I arrived at work a little weepy as the men were finally freed from the mine. I'm a sensitive person.

The only drawback to my audio habit thus far, is that I've developed a bit of a Veruca Salt syndrome. When I want an audiobook I want it now. I want it right now! Which is why I love Hoopla. With no waiting, I check out my book, download it and quickly get back to the business of doing.
 
Need a great listen while you get stuff done this holiday season? Or maybe you just want to relax your eyes and shelter your ears from that annoying battery-operating talking toy the grandparents bought for your kid?
 
Tune in to something off this list of 10 great audiobooks that you could be enjoying right now.

I love Christmas, but most of the things I love about it probably originated in the celebration of the solstice. Sure, I appreciate super-religious and very old carols (“Fall on your knees! O  hear the angel voices!”), but for me, really, it’s mostly about having a real tree in my living room that’s all covered in lights and sparkly things, and the fact that the world will begin, finally, slowly, to get lighter and lighter.

So I’m not a believer, but it was still an interesting time of year to listen to Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary, which focuses intensely on the story of one woman who just happens to be the mother of Jesus Christ. This short novel is narrated by Meryl Streep, who is a magnificent reader, and the experience of listening to it was vivid and intimate. This Mary is a person who has lived through real anguish and is unwilling to put up with any nonsense. The novel is set several years after the crucifixion, and she is being cared for, or perhaps held by, some of the disciples, men who are hard at work making Jesus into a myth. She has no patience for them. For their part, they want her to cooperate or else to just shut up. The human aspects of the story, which are everything to Mary, don't interest them at all.

I listened to this because I was charmed by the author's By the Book column in the New York Times. Tóibín's a voracious reader, and I liked the warmth, humor, and wide embrace of life that came through as he spoke about books he’s loved.

Here’s a list of audiobooks that, like this one, are read by extraordinary readers. I wish you all a season of glorious reading while these long winter nights and rainy days continue, and let me know if I can help with some suggestions.

What’s great about helping people find books is learning about the books they loved. Tweens (grades 5-8) often are passionate about certain titles.

Cover of Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans

Tween 1: I want to read something exciting. I really liked (names a title like "Michael Vey.")

Me: Hmm, I better go read that!

Tween 2: I like action in books. Like in (names title.) I tried (historical fiction title) at school but I couldn’t get into it.

Me: Hmm, I better read that first book.

Tween 3: Some books are so slow...nothing ever happens. But  (names a title) is the best book I ever read.

Me: Hmm, these books the tweens are recommending definitely have violence, but the heroes have a heart and soul. And there’s no putting them down.


And that’s how I’ve finally arrived at this list for 6-8 graders. I discovered some myself, but my fast and furious meter is now finely tuned, so not to worry.


Hold on tight and enjoy. 

 

Not reading much? This blog’s for you. A short list of short reading. Four of my favorites. Plus digital magazines and comics.

Cover of The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Arrival  by Shaun Tan: no words, all ages; beauty in small things; immigration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Park Volume 1

Concrete Park by Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander: sci fi graphic novel; great characters and world creation; #weneeddiversebooks 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Point Your Face at This: Drawings by Demetri MartinPoint Your Face at This: Drawings by Demetri Martin: clever; few words.

 

 

 

 

 


Quotations for All OccasionsQuotations for All Occasions: lots to think about without having to read much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you prefer magazines and comics, you could try our free digital magazines and comics.

Happy reading, my friends!

(Thanks to my colleague Matt M. for modeling the art of brevity.)

 

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