Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Books and Recipes for Teens What a Great Combination

I love starting new book clubs for teens! They encourage teens to read something new and provide great enrichment by asking them to examine what they've read. Then the teens soak up new vocabulary words, figure out the storyline, and learn about the characters in the story.

I am also a firm believer that book clubs help teens build leadership skills and gain confidence. Joining a book club give teens a chance to speak up in a group and respectfully share their ideas and opinions, particularly since so many YA books delve into controversial topics. Teens that take the lead in book discussions will gain an extra edge that will help them in school and social settings.

Most of my teen book clubs have focused on a theme. I think having a theme adds a bit more excitement to the club and also offers you, as the facilitator, a chance to be creative and find great books for your teens to read. One of my first teen book clubs was called “Muggles and Magic,” and all the teens wanted to do was read "Harry Potter" over and over again. It was fun — and tricky — to find other books after we were done with the "Harry Potter" series, but my imagination took over, and I found quite a few books that blend magic and mystery for teens. We also played games like "'Harry Potter' Jeopardy" and dressed up as our favorite characters from the book at the end of the school year.

This book club was a great way to figure out how to get teens to read and discuss books. It also gave me the back-up I needed when I started working in a public library to continue to host book clubs. I am always looking for ideas to start a new book club, and since I have just recently started at a new library, I think it could be a great way to get to know the teens in my new community. 

I read a great article about pairing books with desserts on Shari's Berries, and it totally gave me a great idea! It gave me a chance to explore the world of fiction and the food that is taken from the pages of some of my favorite books. You can find all kinds of recipe ideas in books. Many fandoms have created special web pages just for recipes and ideas. I’ve also seen blogs with resourceful recipes inspired by "Twilight," "Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter."

So, what do you think about planning a book club that focuses entirely on reading YA fiction books and making the food that is mentioned in the book?  Sounds fun, right?  It's also a great way to promote reading.  Not only will the teens be reading, they will also be testing their cooking skills. It's so easy to do.  Choose a book every month and have each member pick a treat to make and bring to the discussion meeting? I bet there will be some creative cooking happening! Check out some of these recipes that book club readers could easily recreate for a fun and interactive book discussion group. 
  • The Selection by Keira Cass: "May, don't these strawberry tarts just make you want to cry?" America's Strawberry Nutella Tart
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner: “Beds were assigned, clothes and bathroom things were passed out, dinner was served. Pizza. Real, bona fide, greasy-fingers pizza.” Maze Runner - Tablespoon Pizza Rolls
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: "Layla's crazy fry eating ritual will leave you wanting to test out the mystery blend method after completing your own french frey gathering trifecta."  Layla - Homemade French Fry Seasoning Blend
  • Splintered series by A.G. Howard: "I need to get to that tea party and wake up the guests ... and how are you supposed to do that? Give a magical kiss to the half-baked hatmaker?"  Allysa -  Edible Tea Cups - YUM!
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: "I only came for cake." Tobias Eaton  - Dauntless Cake recipe
  • Check out my Pinterest board, "Tasty YA Book Recipes," for more fun ideas on pairing YA books and yummy treats!

    Tune in next month for more tips and ideas for tween and teen programming from Mrs. Librarian Lady.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finding Your Way Through Hard Times

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

This month I read the very amazing Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. The title kind of throws you off a bit because maybe you are wondering what does the knife have to do with it and how does it affect the memory. Well, I can tell you all about that! Anderson is one of my favorite authors because he writes with such honesty and grit. She has bravely touched upon very sensitive topics such as rape, eating disorders, suicide and addiction. In doing so, she has helped build the current landscape of contemporary young adult literature. Anderson writes the hard truth, stirs up the debate and discussion among both fans and objectors, and ultimately has created the long overdue conversations about the real issues teenagers face every day.

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own. Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?
The Impossible Knife of Memory portrays a growing, complex problem particularly relevant in the United States today: the devastating ripple effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. After five years of being home-schooled on the road with her truck-driver Dad, Andy, a veteran who is tormented by memories of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hayley Kincain finally has a home. But instead of finding a fresh new start her senior year at public school, Hayley is barely getting by. She feels lost and alone in the sea of “normal” students that she refers to as zombies, Hayley never knows if her Dad is having a good day or a bad day, unfortunately until it is too late. He has been drinking so heavily and so much that he goes into rages and then blacks out.
Hayley’s only friend, Gracie, knows Hayley is struggling, but she’s busy with her own problems —Then Hayley meets Finn, a sharp-witted boy who manages to bring out the smart, clever girl others don’t see. But Hayley doesn’t trust Finn enough to share her secrets. In fact, she doesn’t trust anyone — and that’s the problem.
Anderson’s portrayal of a family broken by war, death, divorce and addiction is very honest. “Killing people is easier than it should be but staying alive is even harder.” Andy tells a teen on Veteran’s Day. Despite the heavy subject matter, Anderson’s observations offer very realistic and emotional depth and validation to this story. At the heart of it is a tough yet fragile girl who lives in a world with a rocky foundation beneath her feet that is constantly shifting and the relentless challenge to keep balance has worn her out.
The Impossible Knife of Memory is a beautifully written book. I loved how Anderson describes memories and situations. The relationships are heartbreaking, yet there is hope, and I think that’s what makes this book so emotionally draining. There is so much love and yet there is the knowledge that it might not be enough. The supporting characters in this book are full of drama, and distraction, but ultimately help the story and Hayley to come to a place of peace.

Mrs. Librarian Lady is a cool cat who loves to read YA books!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Stronger the Woman, The Better

Hello Mrs. Librarian Lady,

You have been talking about Women’s History Month for the last few weeks and I really like the books you talked about. I was wondering if you know of any fiction books that you could recommend to me? I really like fiction and would be interested in something that is kind of sweet or romantic too. I love all of the books that you have recommended to me so far, so I know that you help me with this one too!


Hi there LUnaCee,

I’m so glad that you have been tuning in to see my Women’s History Month selections! Every year I can’t wait for March because I love talking about all of the great women that have done so many incredible things all over the world. I want to thank you for your compliment and for having so much confidence in me. I really like to read books and then talk about them with others. I have a few books that I think you will just adore. One is The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, which will take you on a journey of a young woman’s search to find her inner strength and the other is Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer, which features a very strong young woman named Bella who must fight to save and protect the people she loves. Hope you enjoy reading these books!

Happy reading to you!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

CCBC Choices Award Winner 2010, ABA IndieBound Spring Pick 2010

Review: Readers will be completely surprised by the unfolding of Quinn’s tale. Quinn has had it with all the annoying male figures in her life. She decides to contact her long lost half sister and after they speak on the phone they concoct a plan that their father will most likely never forgive them for. Quinn is really a breath of fresh air and her voice speaks from the heart. There is a myriad of women that voice their stories on the men they have known in their lives and how that affected them throughout their lives and in their current relationships. The women were all very strong and had endured many difficult hardships in their lives. This was very meaningful and offered a strong display of depth in Caletti’s characters. What was interesting is that all these women could be traced back to Quinn's father, who was the catalyst for the journey in this story. This is an excellent book for those who are romantic at heart and also for those who just love a happy ending.

I had never read anything by Deb Caletti before so I was very happily surprised by this novel. I was moved by her ability to weave a story so well. She added very lovable and enjoyable characters to the story. This book offers so much more than a story though. It’s an emotional journey that is multi-generational as well as multi-faceted. Caletti is a really gifted writer.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Children’s Book of the Year Galaxy Award 2009

Review: In Breaking Dawn our beloved Bella finally is forced to make the most ultimate and final choice in her life. She and Edward are married in old world style with the help of her true friend Alice. While Bella and Edward are honeymooning Bella begins to feel very ill and their trip is cut short when she feels that there is something growing inside of her. The tension of the story grows as that something grows larger and larger itself. The chain of events from this point on lead up to the most amazing transformation I have ever seen in a character. Let’s just say that Bella becomes the main focus of the story and her drive to protect not only Edward and her family but any other vampires that support her family is truly incredible. Will Bella’s dream of spending an eternal life with Edward finally come true? I can’t tell you that! It’s up to you to read this book to draw the conclusions yourself.

I had heard a ton of negative reviews for this book, and after reading it I do not agree with those reviews. I think that Twilight fans will find all that they have been waiting for in this final installment of the series. There is a complete and solid ending and everyone in this story does end up happy and that's what I had really wanted for all of Twilight's wonderful characters. I have an idea and would like to do a booktalk on the whole Twilight series. That way I can talk about how Twilight begins and how Edward and Bella fall in love and move on through each book and pull out the key points of the story. Then really spotlight this book because it is probably the best one in the series and has the most exciting plot and action. And of course the Twilight book club is still going strong!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To Zombie, or Not to Zombie, That is a Good Question Indeed

Hi Mrs. Librarian Lady,

All my friends LOVE zombies and they are really into playing video games where they get to either chase zombies or run from them. I’m not sure if I like zombies that much and don’t want to try those games yet. Do you know of a book that has zombies in it that I could read? Not too scary tho!



Greetings ??Zombiees??

I feel your pain! I am not really a big zombie fan myself. There’s something creepy about the way they drag themselves around. Oh, and the thing that I hate the most is that they usually want to eat you too. I know of a book called The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan that I would highly recommend for you to read if you are not sure about zombies. The story involves a futuristic world where humans become infected and turn into zombies. It’s not too scary and if I can read it and not be too scared then you can too! Let me know what you think because there is a companion book also by Carrie Ryan called The Dead Tossed Waves you might like as well.

Happy Reading and Good Luck with the Zombies!

Mrs. Librarian Lady

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Review: Mary lives in a nice little quiet village on the edge of a forest where nothing much happens except when someone gets bit by one of the infected dead zombies called the Unconsecrated that gather by the fences that surround the area. You may think that this sounds weird, but basically it’s all Mary has ever known. Her father has recently disappeared and turned up Unconsecrated, and her mother pretty much goes insane and gets herself bit in order to be with him outside the fences. Once someone is bit they become infected and then it is only a matter of time before they turn Unconsecrated as well. After losing her parents, Mary is in an awful state and even her own brother turns her away so goes to live with the Sisterhood who just happen to be the keepers of many deep dark secrets. In the meantime Travis, the guy that Mary has had a crush on for a long time ends mashing his leg and ends up convalescing at the chapel where she is staying with the sisters. The two become very close and have a strong connection that just may last forever. Unfortunately the Sisters have different plans for them and they decree that Mary must instead become betrothed to Travis’ brother Harry. Many things happen after this and there is a breach in the fences and the Unconsecrated swarm the village biting and eating lots of people. The only ones to make it out alive are Mary, Harry, Travis, her friend Cass, a little boy named Jacob, her new puppy Argos and her brother Jed. As they flee from their village, they leave behind the only world they have ever known. Mary always wonders what lies beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth and would like to explore, but she is constantly being pursued by those annoying flesh eating zombies. This is an amazing apocalyptic tale that will have you on the edge of your seat and chewing your fingernails, well at least it did for me. Ryan’s writing is haunting and intense as she shows readers what life will be like when zombies take over the world dubbing it appropriately as The Return. I really enjoyed listening to this on disc and Vane Millon’s voice was perfect for Mary. Readers will enjoy this book because there is plenty of chasing and running and tons of action. Especially when Mary takes charge, that’s when some zombie heads start to roll!

You can also read this article at To Zombie, or Not To Zombie, That is a Good Question Indeed - San Francisco young adult fiction |