Worth Reading: Kid Lit

What Classic Picture Book Fills You With Dread?

This post is geared more towards parents, with examples like:

“Marjorie Flack’s “The Story About Ping” also fills me with anxiety. One evening, the little duck Ping fails to hear the call in time to return home to the family boat, gets stuck on shore, and has horrible adventures until he finally manages to get home, to a spank, the next night. I don’t think I ever once read this book to my daughters.”

But, it’s an interesting idea.

I sent it to my mom, asking her if she had any books like this she refused to read to me or my brother. She couldn’t think of one. The only one I can think of is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I don’t think it’s the best idea to teach our children to give themselves completely to another person and I don’t understand people’s fascination with the book. If you’re interested, there are many others who dislike The Giving Tree and you can read all about it here and here.

I’m not a mother, but I don’t give this book as a baby shower gift, for the reason Laurel Snyder describes: “When you give a new mother ten copies of ‘The Giving Tree,’ it does send a message to the mother that we are supposed to be this person.”


Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time

Not only do we need #diversebooks, but those books about diverse characters need to be diverse. I can think of a few recent book about non-historical characters, but there certainly aren’t many. Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story by Janay Brown-Wood come to mind.

“Regardless of what the publishing industry seems to think, our babies don’t spend their days thinking about Harriet Tubman, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and black bodies swinging; they’re excited about what the tooth fairy will leave under their pillows, contemplating their first ride on the school bus, looking for dragons in their closets.”




The Case for Romance

I like romance, but I’ve (almost) always steered towards the “literary” version of romance (i.e. anything not mass market paperback and/or cataloged as romance). Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series is a perfect example. However, I’ve been reading more and more about romance and why it’s important, and also how dumb it is that romance readers and authors are so harshly judged. Especially considering that romance readers make up a HUUUGE portion of the reading public. I don’t actually know any statistics, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the money from romance allows publishers to publish the award winning literary fiction. According to this article, it is certainly the most profitable genre… From the library perspective, our romance readers most certainly keep our circulation statistics up.

I have two personal examples of the judgement surrounding romance books, their authors, and their readership. Both of which have encouraged me to read more romance, so in the month of February I will be reading all romance (except my audiobooks during commute time). So far this month, I’ve read Do You Want to Start a Scandal, Any Duchess Will DoBeauty and the BlacksmithWhen a Scot Ties the Knot, and The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare. Also, Wildfire in His Arms by Johanna Lindsey.

I started reading Paris in Love by Eloisa James and realized James is from the same small town in Minnesota as my friend’s dad. Which is pretty cool. It’s also really cool that in her regular life she’s Mary Bly, a Shakespeare professor. At a holiday party at my friend’s house I was talking to her dad and grandma (dad’s mom) about Mary Bly/Eloisa James, and grandma jumped in the middle of me talking about how cool I think it is that she’s a Shakespeare professor and a romance author, with “and now she writes smut.”

I was browsing shelves at the library trying to find something that struck my fancy (as I’m in yet another reading slump) when I saw a Do You Want to Start a Scandal miscataloged as fiction. I grabbed it so I could send it in to the correct person to fix it, but then decided to check it out instead. When my husband saw it on my nightstand his immediate reaction was, “what are you reading? I didn’t realize you read this kind of book.”

RIP Katherine Kellgren

This is super late, but I follow Audible on Instagram, and I saw their post about Katherine Kellgren. Kellgren recently lost her battle with cancer and will be missed terribly.


She was one of my favorite narrators. Her Royal Spyness will not be the same.

Max the Cat

I’m a bit behind on posting, but I had to share. I first heard about the cat who wanted to enter the library, and the cute sign posted on the door on Thursday. But it wasn’t until I read the Washington Post article that I realized all of this is happening right in my backyard!

While I totally get why he’s not allowed in the library, and why some people are annoyed at the Twitter universe’s “outrage” and demands that Max be let inside, I think it’s cute. It certainly is a lot more fun to read about this than some of the other things I see on Twitter!

Vacation Reading

I know when I go on vacation I want something light and entertaining. That can be YA, middle grade, mystery, graphic novel, or fiction. Pretty much anything but nonfiction (unless it’s by Karen Abbott, because she writes about the opposite of dry history). I assumed my fellow Minnesotans acted similarly. But, according to the Star Tribune, who cited a study, Minnesotans like to read nonfiction while they vacation.

No. 1 for Minneapolis travelers, though, is this: nonfiction. We are the only ones.

According to the Smithsonian study, about 26 percent of travelers out of Minneapolis (and possibly St. Paul) carry along a nonfiction book to while away the time.

Unfortunately most of my family (aside from my parents) don’t read, so I can’t peek at what my cousins are reading while relaxing this Labor Day weekend. But I can tell you, I will be bringing Appleblossom the Possum (one of this years Maude Hart Lovelace contenders) and When Dimple Met Rishi (a book I’ve been eyeing for a while now, but just can’t get into).

Worth Reading (round 4) and Listening

More things that are worth your while exploring in the land of books and libraries!

Male authors use female(ish) pseudonyms 

In the most recent Book Riot Podcast Jeff and Amanda (Identity Squatting) and Jeff and Rebecca (Don’t @ Me) talk more in depth about men using initials or pseudonyms to attract female readership. While women have done this for many years (see J.K. Rowling and the Bronte Sisters), it feels weird and wrong for men to do it now. Especially since white men are still more likely to get published. Listen to the podcasts because the Book Riot people are much more eloquent than I ever hope to be.


Millennials are Keeping Libraries Alive!

“According to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data on US library attendance, millennials more than other generations appear to have a use for physical libraries. They may not always come for the books, but the country’s youngest adults show up.” I’m glad this article mentioned that millennials are the ones with kids and the biggest group I see coming into libraries, no matter where I’ve worked, are families. I can’t say I read all the articles on this stat, that I saw floating around the Twitterverse in the past month, but it seemed to me the parenting aspect was not mentioned often. I think, it would be even more interesting to see how many of these millennials are checking out books for themselves vs their kids. However, computer usage is also way up, whether that’s using our library computers or using library WiFi. That’s where I see the other large chunk of millennial (non-parent) usage.

Regardless, it’s nice to see a headline where Millennials aren’t killing something.


Lunch at the Library

“Librarians used to forbid any food or drink to avoid staining books and attracting pests. People who tried to sneak snacks in the stacks would be reprimanded. But in recent years, a growing number of libraries have had a major shift in policy: They are the ones putting food on the table.”



Worth Reading: Round 3

As you know, we are living in contentious times. Marches and protests abound, as do accusations of fake news. How does the library fit into this world?

Teen Librarian Toolbox tweeted several suggestions, all of which are posted here. Included are purchase diverse books and create source analysis documents for users.


The University of Minnesota put together an immigration syllabus that “seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship.”


I created a book review article for our county’s local paper about immigration stories, ranging from current Somali and Hmong immigrant/refugee stories to the Swedish immigration stories of the 1800s. Encouraging our users to read outside of their comfort zone is important.


Many organizations have crafted infographics detailing how to tell if a news source is accurate, biased or fake. IFLA has a nice blog post summarizing the issue and including some resources for libraries.