Amy Says Read This

Seriously, you should totally read this.

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Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

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Maroh, J. (2013). Blue is the warmest color. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press. ISBN: 9781551525143

Annotation: After Clementine’s death, her partner Emma reads Clem’s diary from when they met and began to fall in love and learns about the struggles Clem had accepting her sexuality.

Reaction: Whoa. This book is intense. It’s beautiful and completely tragic, and Maroh tells you up front that there’s no happy ending here.

The art is beautiful and done in muted colors, except for the bright pops of blue here and there, which mark important people or events in Clem’s life. The art really adds to the wistful, reminiscent tone of Clem’s diary.

This book is a wonderful, moving narrative about coming out and accepting oneself and first love, and I think it’s the kind of thing that could be therapeutic for teenagers on the same journey, but there are a couple of sex scenes, so I would probably only give it to teens 16 and up. Clem’s coming of age story is also pretty universal and is likely to resonate with any adults who remember the anguish of falling in love for the first time.

Awards: Prix du Festival d’Angoul√™me for Prix du Public (2011), American Library Association Rainbow List (2014)

Author’s Website (in French!)


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Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne

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Trevayne, E. (2014). Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9781442498778

Annotation: Jack is tired of being ignored at home, so when he overhears a magician offer to train him, Jack is determined to make it happen. He follows the magician through a mysterious doorway, leading him into a different London and on a great adventure.

Reaction: First, let me say that I love love love the cover of this book. It is so beautiful and magical and mysterious, and it is the reason I picked this up and checked it out in the first place.

This book is in a genre called Steampunk, and Trevayne does a great job of introducing the reader to the fantastical world she has created. Her descriptions of Londinium are very vivid and really make you feel like you’re right there with Jack. The steampunk elements really help to highlight how different Londinium is from London, and I love the idea of a fairyland where all the creatures are living machines. The mechanical fairies, in particular, are a nice touch.

Trevayne populates Londinium with a cast of creative and clever characters. I loved the clockwork girl, and the Lady’s capriciousness made her genuinely scary, but it was Lorcan the magician who really turned out to be the most frightening character. He quickly reveals to the reader how jealous he is of the Lady’s affections, leading him to a deep hatred of Jack that only grows over the course of the book. He is the biggest threat to Jack, and I felt like he might really do some damage to Jack or his friends.

This is a fun, fantasy adventure that I think would appeal to boys and girls in 4th-6th grades. The steampunk elements could appeal to Doctor Who and Warehouse 13 fans. It was a quick read and a nice twist on a typical “lost in Fairy land” kind of story.

Minor spoilers below: Continue reading

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Amy’s First Baby Storytime!

Recently, I got to put on my very first baby storytime! I’ve been doing preschool storytime for awhile now and feel pretty comfortable coming up with an engaging storytime for that age, but a storytime for babies is a whole different ballgame! I’d spent the few days prior to my babytime debut looking for resources, tips and tricks online and asking all my librarian friends how they handle the 0-12 months crowd.

The morning of, I was as prepared as I could be and ridiculously nervous, which was only made worse when I found 60 people staring at me. In case you’re wondering, 60 is a lot of people. Especially if you’re doing a baby storytime for the first time. Thankfully, everyone was very nice and understanding when I messed up and seemed to enjoy themselves. I prepped about fourteen activities for the 20 minute storytime and made sure I had alternates as backup in case I needed to fill some time. It seems I planned it pretty well, as I only had to supplement with one extra rhyme (The Grand Old Duke of York). I used a couple of songs from CD’s and found that, for the first one, the volume was too low for how many people were present, and the second one, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, was too slow, but I made the best of it.

The books were all hits. Chick made all the moms laugh and laugh when it was time for chick to poop, and everyone practically cheered when I pulled out Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I loved how involved all the moms were and how excited they got about the different activities. All in all, this was a great experience, and everyone seemed to walk away really happy.

Amy’s First Baby Storytime
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