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).


Maud Hart Lovelace 2016-2017

Once again I’m going to try and read all the nominees. So far I have two items on my nightstand but I haven’t opened either one… I’m clearly not off to a very good start. Because of this, I’m only going to try and read the Division I nominees. There are several good ones in Division II but I don’t know if I’ll make it that far this year.

Anywho… here are the contenders for 2016-2017:

Division I (grades 3-5)

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel by Trevor Pryce

Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Escape by Night by Laurie Myers

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford

The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox

Wild River by P.J. Petersen

Life Lately

This past week in Minnesota, and the rest of the United States, was terrible. The shooting of Philando Castile happened less than 5 miles from my house. I can’t bring myself to drive past the spot, and I certainly cannot even begin to imagine the pain and grief his family, friends, and those who knew him are feeling.

There are many ways to get involved, and work towards peace and justice, but as this is a library blog, I want to share this wonderful editorial by Colin Whitehurst, of Portage District Library in Michigan.

I feel like today more than ever, the Library reminds us that we can work together. We have this place in each of our communities that stands up proud and tall and invites everyone in to be fed emotionally, intellectually, and yes sometimes literally.

Karen Abbott and Club Book

On Thursday my mom and I went to the Roseville Library to hear Karen Abbott talk about her most recent book Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. The talk is part of a MELSA program called Club Book: The Book Club Rewritten.

While I still haven’t finished the book despite starting it way back in May, I did really enjoy the talk. I read Abbott’s other books, Sin in the Second City  and American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare and really enjoyed them. However, I just can’t get into Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. Maybe it’s because of the interweaving of four different stories, so I don’t feel connected to any one woman. Or maybe it’s because I’ve done most of my reading on lunch breaks and 20 minutes just isn’t enough time to get into a good nonfiction groove. Whatever the reason, it’s a very interesting subject matter and I do plan on finishing the book eventually. Hopefully soon, since my dad wants to borrow it after me.

Anyway, the talk… Abbott was very well spoken and covered a lot of ground in 45(ish) minutes. We learned about her inspiration for the book and her research methods. My favorite part of her presentation were the political cartoons. The audience also had several interesting questions and Abbott seemed to appreciate each question and answer thoughtfully.

I will certainly check out more Club Book presentations!

Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off!

My second book in my quest to read all 2015-16 Maud Hart Lovelace nominees was Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off! by Nate Ball.

I can see why students nominated this book for the Maud Hart Lovelace Award– it’s funny, Zack is a relatable character etc.– but it just didn’t hold my attention. Although I believe that adults can enjoy children’s books (and I usually do) this is one where the intended audience enjoys it best. Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off! ended on a major cliff hanger, so it will be interesting to see where it goes next.

It’s (not) Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

If you live in Minnesota you know that this winter is very strange. We’ve had so much rain! But very little snow. It’s gross. Anyway, the warm weather and lack of snow is definitely causing a distinct lack of Christmas spirit. I remember last year I decided around this time that I wanted to listen to a Christmas themed audio book, but they were all checked out! With multiple holds!

This year, however, the vast majority of our Christmas related books (audio, fiction, cook books, picture books etc) are still on the shelf or in displays.

It’s really kind of fascinating to see how the weather affects our reading habits.

When Life Gives You O.J.



When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl

Zelly Fried really really really wants a dog, but her parents won’t let her. She also happens to be one of the few Jewish kids in her small, Vermont town. When her best friend forever goes off to camp, Zelly is left friendless for the summer. Until her grandfather comes up with a plan for Zelly to prove to her parents she is ready for a dog. Enter, O.J., the practice dog.

The narrator, Abigail Revasch, does a great job, and I loved the author’s inclusion of Hebrew words and customs. However, I felt that it dragged a bit. It will be interesting to see how this book fares in the Maud Hart Lovelace awards.