This Was Our Pact is a kid's graphic novel that is beautiful in both art and storytelling. Full of fantasy and adventure, the story follows Ben, who makes a pact with his friends to follow the lanterns they release annually and finally see where they go. Ben and Nathaniel, the boy who tagged along, are the only two to see the pact through and on their adventure they find a witch, a talking bear, unlikely friendships and so much more.
The art is stunning. The story has so much heart. I highly recommend this graphic novel to both kids and adults.
One of the things I love most about graphic novels is how quickly you can read them compared to traditional novels. And yet, you still get an incredible story.
Hello, from quarantine! I'm reading a ton of books lately and realized I miss talking about them. I'm also getting a bunch of Advanced Reader Copies of books and I REALLY need a place to ramble about how amazing they are. So here I am!
It's such a weird time. The library is closed to the public. We're doing a lot virtually: programs, tech help, temporary library cards, more downloadable materials... but it doesn't replace the physical library and seeing our patrons every day. I know being closed is the best decision for us right now, but that doesn't make it easy.
I hope you, dear reader, are staying busy, sane and safe. And I hope you enjoy some upcoming book reviews!
As the only full time Librarian at my library, I feel the Summer Burn Out a little faster than the other staffers here, but it's hitting us all hard. We're doing more programs than ever before and we've had more families than ever take part in them. It's great! It's exactly the boost we needed. But it's exhausting.
I'm counting down the days until my long weekend away. I'm also counting down the days until our end of summer party. But at the same time, summer in New Hampshire is so short that I'd hate to wish it away.
It's been a crazy 4 weeks and we have another 4 weeks to go. Wish me luck and maybe you'll hear from me soon... but more than likely you'll hear from me again in September.
Justine is the Library Director in Walpole, NH. She is an avid reader, knitter and Netflix binge watcher.
Do you know which subject I hated most in high school? It was history. It was so boring to me. I couldn't have cared less about it. But now, I wish I had paid more attention. And I wish my U.S. history classes could have gotten past the 1920's.
So I checked out some books. I did not check out long, over-complicated books explaining how and why events happened. I thought about it and then realized I'd never read them. Instead I checked out some kid's non-fiction. It's brief, to the point and has pictures. That's all I need.
The series of non-fiction books is Monumental Milestones. I checked out the book on The Cuban Missile Crisis and the book on The Watergate Scandal. Both topics feel rather timely right now and I don't remember learning anything about them in high school other than they happened. These books had just the right amount of information so that I feel informed now but I didn't fall asleep reading them.
I would absolutely recommend them for kids, and I'd recommend them for adults too. I'm not sure why adults seem to avoid kids' books, but I think they're perfect when you just need a refresher on a topic or some easy to digest information.
This summer we're going to be offering more programs than ever before at my library. We're pretty excited about this for many reasons: increased foot traffic, increased program attendance, increased circulation...
I'm also a little anxious. We've tried numerous programs in the past that we thought would be fantastic and we thought people would love, but no one came. I feel like every librarian knows this feeling. You plan a program people have been asking for and then no one comes and you question yourself A LOT. Because planning programs takes time and resources. It's frustrating and disappointing when a program is a flop. But we keep going. We keep planning. We keep doing what people ask for.
That's the nature of our business. Sometimes I think the effort is more important than the result. Even if the community doesn't show up in droves, they like to see the program they asked for on the library calendar. They like to know their input was taken seriously.
And once in awhile, you plan a program someone asked for and it's standing room only. That's why we keep going.
So here's to a great summer full of standing room only events!
There many things about being a supervisor that I love. I love encouraging the staff and helping them achieve their goals. I love setting new goals for the year and making a plan for reaching them. I love being a cheerleader.
There are also some things I struggle with and one is solid, consistent communication. In a field where I'm the only full time person, it can be tricky to remember who I've given what information to and my staff has been feeling this lately. We have some exciting projects happening at the library but my brain has been too scattered and I haven't given the same information to everyone on staff. Which has obviously left some staff members feeling left out, and that was never my intention!
So going forward we're working on a new communication system. There will be more e-mails. I'll keep a little check list so I can be sure I share information with everyone. And things will improve. No one is perfect, and the important thing is to figure out your weaknesses and address them. So here we are, communication. I see you, I know I need to work on you and we've come up with a great plan to do so!
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley was such a fun book. I listened to the audio, and the narrators were fantastic. I highly recommend it!
Solomon is 16-years-old and hasn't left his house in three years. Lisa is a senior in high-school with dreams of getting into the second best psych program in the country. Lisa's goal: Get Solomon to leave the house and write her college essay on how she helped him. Reality: become amazing friends with Solomon, accuse your boyfriend of cheating on you and watch both relationships blow up.
I love every, single character in this book from Solomon and Lisa to Solomon's grandma! Such a fun cast of characters. The plot line is interesting and different while still being a high school story. You know, when Lisa says she can't let Solomon know she's writing her essay on him, that he will find out and it will end poorly, but you read along anyway, because you care about the characters so much. You want, maybe need, to see Solomon get out of the house. You want to see how the friendship between Lisa, Solomon and Lisa's boyfriend Clark evolves. And you're never let down.
There's nothing magical or super adventurous happening here. It's just a great story of a boy afraid to leave his house and the two people who prove that not everyone in the world is worth hiding from.
It's finally starting to feel like Spring in the North East which made me realize... it's almost time for the Summer Reading Program!
There are a few staples of our program that happen every year like a visit from Wildlife Encounter (a group who rescue animals and then bring them to libraries and schools to teach kids about them) and drop in craft time with a local teacher that everyone loves.
But then we also plan some programs based around the fun, national theme. This year's theme is "Libraries Rock," which is being interpreted in two ways: music and geology. We're planning to show some musicals on the "big screen" at the library and have a few dance parties. We're also working on some fun ideas around geology like rock candy and pet rocks. It's going to be a great summer!
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed was an engaging, well written young adult novel. We've seen a lot of books in the last few years about African American teens and the struggles they have in the United States, with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas being a kind of pinnacle. Love, Hate and Other Filters gives the same kind of voice to another minority group in our country, Muslim Indians, and I think it's a voice that is needed in YA literature.
Maya Aziz, the main character, is a first generation Indian-American. She struggles to find the balance between the world her parents want for her (college close to home, a boy from an upstanding Indian & Muslim family) and world she wants for herself (film school in NY, the white American boy she's been crushing on her whole life).
For much of the story, it feels like a lovely teen romance. Maya has two boys interested in her, one her parents approve of and one she feels they never will. We see her struggle with her feelings and we watch each relationship grow. And then suddenly her world is shaken when a Muslim man is accused of a local terrorist attack.
The truth of how our country jumps to blame a Muslim man for a crime with very little proof is scary but honest. The bullying Maya faces at school must be real for so many kids. And my heart breaks for her in many scenes. But Ahmed writes so beautifully and she managed to create such a strong young woman in Maya, that you instinctively know everything will work out. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not as Maya dreamed it would, but she is a fighter and as a reader you cheer her on while she goes after a life that is all her own.
I finished 3 books this week! I feel so accomplished. So you'll be getting lots of reviews from me =)
The first review is for The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. I don't know how popular Penny is across the country, but here in Walpole, NH everyone and their cousin reads her. There are 13 books in the series now, but having only recent become a Walpole resident, I only recently started reading these. Haha!
The Cruelest Month is the third book in her Inspector Gamache series and in my opinion, the first really good book. I'm now completely invested in the characters and can't wait to keep reading. Obviously she had lots of characters to set up in the first 2 books, but now, with a crazy subplot, I'm really enjoying the story line more.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache keeps getting pulled back to a quaint little village in Canada called Three Pines. There's an incredibly haunted house that makes appearances in all of the books so far. There are people you can totally imagine being neighbors with and people you can totally imagine murdering, which is why Gamache finds himself back in town so often.
While each mystery stands alone, the characters really require reading this series in order. And now with the sub-plot, I'd imagine you'll have to read that in order.
So if you're looking for a good mystery series with fabulous character development and mysteries that are actually hard to solve, definitely check out Louise Penny.