Sunday, January 31, 2010

Get Your Books!

Don't forget to sign up for one of the Family Book Groups (first meeting next week) or to pick up your own copy of The Grapes of Wrath, available at the upstairs Reference Desk.

If you've already gotten your books, comment away at the Tigard Reads blog!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Whole Nother Story

If your children liked The Series of Unfortunate Events, then A Whole Nother Story, by Dr. Cuthbert Soup, is the book for them. The good news is that it's going to be a series. The bad news is that A Whole Nother Whole Nother Story won't be published until January 2011.

Fourteen-year-old Barton Burton, his 12-year-old sister Saffron Ponderosa, their 8-year-old brother Crandall Moriarty, and Crandall's sock puppet Steve are in a perpetual state of friendlessness but not because they are unpleasant, unlikeable, or stinky (well, actually Steve is at least 2 out of 3 of those things but the children aren't any of them). They are constantly on the run with their father, scientist Ethan Cheeseman, because they are trying to protect Ethan's important invention from getting into the wrong hands. As a result, the children can never stay in one place long enough to make friends.

Two years earlier, the children's mother, Olivia Cheeseman, was murdered at the hands of some of the people who are after the invention. They must try to get the invention to work so that they can bring their mother back. The problem is, Ethan only has half of the slip of paper with the passcode to make the invention work. Before she died, Olivia hid the other half in a place only she knew.

Ethan and the kids try to keep one step ahead of Agents Aitch Dee and El Kyoo from a secret governmental agency that hides its name even from its agents; Misters 5, 29, 88, and 207 from the evil maker of refrigerators and microwaves, Plexiwave; and international superspy Pavel Dushenko and his chimpanzee companion, Leon (now that's a whole nother story, pun intended).

Will the children ever be able to settle down long enough to make friends? Will the family solve the other half of the passcode? Will they be able to protect the precious invention from the agents, the misters, and the international superspy and his primate sidekick? You know what you need to do to find out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything

"Stretch your arms to their fullest extent and imagine that width as the entire history of the Earth. On that scale, the distance from the fingertips to the wrist of the other is Precambrian [long period of time when the first forms of primitive life came into being]. All of complex life is in one hand, and in a single stroke with a medium-grained nail file you could eradicate human history." Wow!

I'm not much of a history buff; in fact, I'm embarrassed to admit how little I can actually remember about significant names, events, and dates. So when I saw the title of this book, I thought I had hit the jackpot and I might actually be able to refresh my memory with just a short read. Well, it turns out that A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson, isn't actually a history book; it's a science book. But it's a great book that gets down and dirty with scientific theories from the big bang to earthquakes and volcanoes to dinosaur extinction to global warming. Each page spread is devoted to a different subject, though it is organized in logical and chronological order so that you can just read straight through it. Or, if you're like me, you can easily look at the Table of Contents with clever and interesting but usually self-explanatory names such as Einstein - the genius - the Special Theory of Relativity or To the edge of the universe - how far is it? and just pick and choose what you think looks interesting.

The author makes some pretty complex scientific concepts pretty accessible to kids. Whether your child is a science buff or working on a school assignment, this book would be a good starting point. The language in the quote above is representative of the level in which the book is written, so I would recommend this for lower elementary kids only if you can sit and read through the info with them. But it would definitely be good for upper elementary- and even middle school-aged kids.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wimpy Kid Movie Trailer

The wimpy kid is getting closer to the big screen. For all of you Greg Heffley fans, have a peek...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

And the Winners Are...

The most dazzling awards event of the book world happened early Monday morning at the ALA Mid-Winter Conference. The winners were announced for a whole slew of awards.

And the Caldecott for distinguished illustration goes to Jerry Pinkney's The Lion and the Mouse!  This is a beautiful wordless book, making it great to share with all ages.  Two books received Caldecott honors: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman (I'll review this one later!) and All the World illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton Scanlon.

The Newbery, recognizing a book distinguished for its text and written for the 0-14 year old set, was awarded to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Mystery, family dynamics and time travel collide in this fantastic story.  Several honor books were named: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice written by Phillip Hoose, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Kelly, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon written by Grace Lin, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg written by Rodman Philbrick.

Other winners included....Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! written and illustrated by Geoffrey Hayes, the Theodor Seuss Geisel winner; Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream written by Tanya Lee Stone, the Sibert medal winner ; several Coretta Scott King Award winners and many more. Click here for a complete list, including "Notable" titles.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Family Book Groups

New to this year's Tigard Reads program are two family book discussion groups. Families with children in grades K through 3rd will be reading Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People by Bonnie Christensen. This group will be meeting Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m. for book discussion and a family sing-along with musician Lorna Miller. The other group for families of 4th through 6th graders will read A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck. This group will meet Monday, February 8 at 7 p.m. for book discussion, games and other activities.

Both groups are limited to 20 families each so registration is required. Stop by the Children's Desk to reserve your space and pick up your family's free copy of the book (one book per family). Books are provided through a generous donation by the Friends of the Library.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You Have the Power...

You have, at least, the power to pick up your own holds! What's that mean? When the books that you have requested are ready for you, they'll be shelved along the east wall of the main floor (by the DVDs).  AV items, like DVDS, audiobooks, and CDs, will still be held behind the Check Out Desk. You can grab your holds and use the self-service machines or join the line -- your choice.

Have questions? Just stop by any desk and we'll be glad to help you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The 13th Reality

I just started a new series by one of my new favorite authors, James Dashner. Boy does he know how to tell a tale. I originally read The Maze Runner, a great fantasy/science fiction book for young adults, and I couldn't put it down. I can't wait until its sequel comes out (10/2010 in case you're wondering). In the meantime, I discovered that he has written two different series, The Jimmy Fincher Saga, and The 13th Reality.

The first book in the 13th Reality series is The Journal of Curious Letters. Like The Maze Runner, I could not put it down. It reminds me of sort of a modern day version of A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. It's all about quantum physics, or "the kyoopy" (get it? Quantum Physics = Q. P. = Kyoopy), but instead of time travel being the focus, alternate realities are, 13 to be exact. Apparently there are 13 different versions of our world/life/time as we know it.

Atticus "Tick" Higginbottom is the kind of boy who gets stuffed into lockers. Little do Tick and his classmates know that he will soon be one of a very select few kids in the world who are being tested to see if they are worthy of saving the world as we know it. He meets Mothball (at least she didn't end up with her sister's name, Toejam), an eight-foot-tall woman, and Rutger, a tiny little roly poly man who likes to throw rocks to get Tick's attention. They become 2 of his best friends and help guide his way through all of the trials that he faces. He comes across many other characters, some good, some evil, most of them very strange. Getting his head flushed down the toilet is nothing compared to what he deals with after he accepts the challenge to save the world.

Like the Murry family in A Wrinkle in Time, the Higginbottom family is also very close. In my opinion, it seems pretty rare nowadays to find a main character who comes from a close, loving family (go ahead, I'm sure you will immediately be able to think of many examples that shoot that theory down), and I loved reading about the supportive relationship between Tick and his parents.

So anyway, I highly recommend this relatively new series for about 4th grade and up. We are working on getting the second book for our library, and the third will be published this coming April.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reports, Reports, Reports

With school back in full swing, it's report time. Luckily, the library subscribes to several online resources to help your child with their homework. Accessible from home with your library card or in any Washington County Library, you can help develop your child's research skills without the frantic rush to find the one book everyone's checked out!

For country and state reports, CultureGrams is packed with information in an easy to use format. With state symbols, recipes, and, of course, population, geography and history information, it's all there in a click.

For magazine and newspaper articles, as well as graphs and pictures, Kids InfoBits puts it all together for your child to search. I especially like their "Related Subjects" which helps kids think about how to develop their searches (think "Pioneers" or "Explorers" or "Settlers").

There are plenty more as well, including some great ones for grownups at the WCCLS main page.