Updates 2/20/13

It’s been too long since my last post.  Here’s a 10-second update:

I’m now proud to be employed in the Library department of Molloy College in Rockville Centre.  I’ve been there since August, I enjoy my time there, and I’ve learned a lot so far.  I’ve continued to work weekends at South Huntington Public Library in the Children’s department that I love.

In the last year or so, I’ve embarked on a great fascination with the Ender’s Game and Shadow series by Orson Scott Card, via their amazing audiobooks, with perfect timing for the 2013 film release.

Graduation!

I graduated with my MLS/School Media Specialist degree from CUNY Queens College on May 31st, 2012! I’m so excited to be through with all the demands of taking classes and writing my thesis. A few days later, I was happy to see my grades come through the registrar, and I did very well, if I may so so myself.

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things on the blogosphere once I get settled in my post-grad-school life.

Now, I’m looking for a school librarian/media specialist position or a youth services position in a public library.  Tell me if you hear anything ;-)

Read Across America

Happy Read Across America Day – and Dr. Seuss’s Birthday!

Check out Live-Brary’s info on this celebration here.

Also, Seussville has a great online collection of materials for educators to use in their classrooms to celebrate with kids.

 

Book Review: “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back AgainInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Written in free verse, this book tells a semi-autobiographical story of a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl in 1975. Her family must decide what to do with the impending coming of the Communists to their home in Saigon. Their lives change forever, and the reader gets to see the emotional impact of these real events through the eyes of the young girl. I highly recommend this book which treats the serious subjects of war and refugees in an relatable way. It is a quick read too; it took me only about ninety minutes to get through. The author notes at the end of the book that the situation of the family, as well as many specific anecdotes, were straight from her own life.

View all my reviews

Book Review: “Waiting for the Magic” by Patricia MacLachlan

Waiting for the MagicWaiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan

This novel, written by Patricia MacLachlan (author of Sarah, Plain & Tall), I recommend highly for children who are beginning chapter book reading, as well as adults. MacLachlan does an excellent job of treating serious family concerns(absentee fatherhood, pregnancy) through children’s [and pets'] eyes. William and Elinor’s father leaves his family (again) and their mother decides to take corrective action by adopting four dogs and a cat. The family readjusts, and the reader sees, through William’s perspective, the conflicted emotions of being a child in a broken family. MacLachlan not only writes with poignancy, but with a sense of whimsy as well, when the children find out that their new pets can speak to them (Elinor hears first, since all four-year-olds can hear magic, according to the littlest dog). “Waiting for the Magic” is a sweet story that grapples with serious issues with a tone that isn’t ominous, and offers an uplifting message about the endurance of the family. Amy June Bates’ occasional black-and-white sketch illustrations support the text and help the reader to visualize each individual member of the family, human and otherwise.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

“The Simpsons” Meets YA Lit

The Simpsons, Season 23: Episode 6: “The Book Job”
(Watch it temporarily on Hulu here)

In this spoof of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, Homer, Bart, and a gang of Springfieldians plot to “gang-write” the next tween fantasy publishing sensation  so that they can strike it rich.  Featuring guest voices of Neil Gaiman and Andy Garcia, this episode layers laugh-out-loud YA lit references on top of the familiar heist setup from Hollywood.  In an all-too-real subplot, Lisa Simpson endeavors to write her own novel, but can’t get past the procrastination temptations of online word games and CD re-organization (NaNoWriMo much?)  This episode should be required viewing for anyone involved in YA lit who likes to laugh.  Two thumbs up!

Write your favorite moments in the combox below.

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Homer: (After finishing writing the book) I just hope we put in enough steampunk…whatever that is.

A Rant on Intellectual Freedom

Once upon a time….

I was in a ____ literature course, and a particular day was focused on [fictional books on a controversial topic, one in which I differ in personal opinion from most of the vocal members of the library profession].  We discussed our reflections on the reading choices as a class.  Although I cringed at hearing some of the storylines, I would, of course, support the inclusion of these titles  in a collection, pending age-/review-/balance-/budget-appropriateness.

My gut was very uncomfortable with this discussion, not only with the vision of some of these books (which were contrary to my own worldview, but I’m used to that), but largely with the fact that most of the library profession seems to think that it is the only way to see the world, and that other points of view are [adjective describing unacceptability].  Sadly, the professor and fellow students seem to perpetuate the notion that a character or theme of a book must agree with their set of values, especially within this controversial topic.

This smells awfully similar to the 180-degree opposite intolerant mindset that the same people complain about.  Woe.  The best I can do is stick to my beliefs in my personal life (a luxury which in some fields is being eroded), defend intellectual freedom, and make sure that my future library welcomes all points of view, not just the ones in vogue.

For more information about Intellectual Freedom, check out ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Library Bill of Rights.