Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Let’s BookTalk: The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

“My life is over. Behind the morphine dreams is the nightmare of reality” (3).

Jessica was one of the “lucky” students who survived a horrendous bus crash. However, while many of her peers walked away, she did not. Jessica lost her leg in the accident, which for her feels like the end of what she loved to do most, running for her track team. Now, she sits at the back of her class.

Rosa, who is wheelchair bound due to cerebral palsy, welcomes Jessica back after her time in the hospital. Although the two girls never conversed before she helps Jessica catch up on her work in their math class. From their time together, Rosa and Jessica become friends. Jessica learns more than just math from her new friend Rosa.

“That night I have the running dream again. When I wake up, I cry like I always do, but my tears are interrupted by the memory of something new in my dream. A mermaid fountain. A mermaid fountain and Rosa, waving from her porch as I run by” (139).

Jessica discovers that with a special prosthesis she could run again. But, will this mean she will make her running dreams a reality?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Let's BookTalk: The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Meddlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty

"I was ten years old when my parents were killed by pirates" (p. 1).

And so, Bronte Meddlestone's adventure begins. She wasn't usually the kind of child who took adventures. Ever since her parents left her in the lobby of her Aunt Isabelle's apartment building. It was her Aunti Isabelle who raised her, as her parents were off on adventures.

The first inconvenience, Bronte's parents being dead, as in their will they give strict instructions on a journey that she must take alone visiting her other ten aunts across the Kingdoms and Empires of the world.

The second inconvenience, if Bronte does not fulfill her parent's last wishes exactly as they outlined her home town of Gainsleigh will be destroyed, torn apart, all because her parents made their last will and testament binding through faery cross-stitch.

And their are more inconveniences to come; babies in rivers, avalanches, pirate attacts, spellbinders, dark mages, and more. "As we raced about, Aunt Isabelle drilled me on the dangers of Dark Mages...and covered other dangers too. Getting my new frocks muddy. Forgetting to say thank you. That kind of thing" (pp. 14-15).

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Let's BookTalk: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

from GoodReads
"There's a trick they do with one pea and three cups which is very hard to follow, and something like it, for greater stakes than a handful of loose change, is about to take place" (p. 24).

And that was how the apocalypse began...maybe.

There are no abosulutes when it has come to prophecies about the end of the world, because their are so many versions of it. However, when you have a stylish, optimistic demon and a soft hearted, head strong angel team up together to stop the apocalypse, can a prophecy of impending doom really get things spot on. Agnes Nutter may be the witch and prohetess to have predicted just these events leading to the end of the world and the ulitmate battle between Heaven and Hell.

Than again, was it the friendship of angel and demon that stopped the end of days or the pea and the three cups snafu that really led to the apocalypse of Agnes' prophecy?

Theology, humor, a slight of hand gone wrong...maybe Good Omens come in more ways than we realize.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Let's BookTalk: Sweep by Jonathan Auxier


“She and her Sweep had both gone to bed as they always had, nestled against a chimney stack beneath the starry sky. But when the girl woke the next morning, her Sweep was gone” (p. 13).

Nan is an 11 year-old girl in the late 1800s. She is in contracted servitude to work as a chimney sweep, along with four other children ages 7 to 12. Food is scarce, work is dangerous, and there is very little for her to be hopeful for, except that someday her Sweep, original master, may one-day return. All she has left of him is his hat and a piece of char that still feels warm somehow.

The “Devil’s Nudge,” a dangerous method used by master chimney sweeps to get their chimney climbers (child laborers) unstuck from a chimney stack. They light a fire under the stuck child and they either scramble their way to freedom or burn.

One day while cleaning chimneys, Nan got stuck…


A Note from Ms. Stimpson: I don’t often give my opinion on a book, as I prefer the reader to discover their own preferences in reading. However, there are not many stories often written as this one. Nor do all stories touch your soul. Sweep is one of those stories, because even in the darkness and despair, hope can make the darkness more grey than it had been before.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Let’s BookTalk: Guitar Notes by Mary Amato


“It’s as if there are six strings inside him, tuned to the same pitches, and when the guitar is strummed it cause his sting to ring out, too” (p. 22).

Tripp is a loner type, who loves to play the guitar. He is an odd character and very often speaks his mind. Lyla is the first chair cellist in the school’s orchestra. She is Lyla Marks, who has perfect grades, perfect friends and everyone adores her; however, Lyla is keeping a deep secret that she feels she cannot share with anyone.

The story mainly takes place at Rockland school. The characters Tripp and Lyla are both going through communication issues with their parent. Both are feeling pressured by their parents to be involved in activities they do not want to do.

Is there ever a time when you “thrum?”

Written by Amanda Baca
Library Educational Assitant

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Let’s BookTalk: I’m OK by Patti Kim


When your name is Ok, how can you be anything but ok?

Ok Lee is a 12 year-old Korean-American who wants to be a good son for his mother and make his father proud, which sometimes makes things less than ok. After his father died in a roofing accident, Ok wants to help make life easier for his mother, but it doesn’t seem to work out that way.

“I stare up at the ceiling. I knuckle my head twelve times, for each year I’ve been alive, mumbling, ‘pabo, pabo, pabo, pabo,’ just as my father would’ve done. Don’t call me stupid. My name is Ok” (p. 9).

In this coming of age story, Ok decides to learn a new skill and a talent in order to help bring in some extra cash. He soon comes to find that he is good at styling hair for the girls at school and everyone feels better with a style form Ok.

“Demand is high. Girls follow me, stop me in the halls, pass me notes. This volume of attention form the opposite sex is unprecedented” (p. 58).

Things seem to be going ok, once he masters a bankable skill, then his mom decides she will re-marry and all Ok can think is that it’s not ok. His father hasn’t been dead long, the man she is betrothed to is a thief, and he can’t help but think she is doing it all for money with an easier lifestyle.

When things aren’t going ok, having Ok for a name can be cruel.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Let's BookTalk: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


“Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug. He lived, but no nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I’ll remember how he died” (p. 442-443).

Starr is a teenager caught between two worlds. One world is where she lives with her family and helps them with their store in Garden Heights; a low income, hardworking neighborhood, facing violence in the streets due to the competing gangs in the area. The other worlds is where she goes to school, Williamson. In this world there are gated communities, suburbs, and what some would call “champagne problems.”

Both her worlds are shattered, when a police officer guns down a childhood friend in her neighborhood during a “routine traffic” stop and all she could do was watch from the passenger side of her friend’s car.

Now, she must make a choice. Silence or Speak Out?

“I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world know what went down. Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak” (p. 35).

Let's BookTalk: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson


“Ruth and me are free, Pastor. Miss Finch freed us in her will. Momma, too, if had lived. It was done up legal, on paper with wax seals” (p. 9). Isabel Gardener is a slave in the year 1777 with a promise of freedom, but a corrupt system has her and her sister sold off to a high society family in New York.

Curzon, another slave who dreams of freedom, which has led him to ally himself with the Patriots, a radical group wanting to divide from the British monarchy to be free. He talks Isabel into being a spy for them, as her “owners” are British sympathizers who know of an impending British invasion.

Isabel will not be a slave and finds her own way to fight for her freedom and possibly even the freedom of a nation?

Let's BookTalk: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

There is power in a name, his momma taught him that much before she died. His name is Bud, not Buddy. If she had wanted him to be called Buddy, she would have named him Buddy.

Bud learned many things from his momma, except who his father was, she only left a flyer for a band as a clue. Now Bud is a runaway orphan in Flint, MI on a mission to get out of town before he is the most wanted boy in town. Life isn’t easy for Bud and with a depression going on across the country things can easily go from bad to worse.

Yet, Bud has these rules that help him stay alive and out of trouble, almost. With only an old card board suitcase to carry his few prized possessions in the world, Bud goes on a journey to find his father and maybe the allusive dream of a home.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Conversation Starter--Is the Library Just an Illusion?

Recently, in my class I gave an essay test with a prompt asking them to pose an argument on the role of public libraries for the Internet age, as advancements in technology continue. My avid readers voiced that public libraries will always have a role, as a they are good places to find quiet and a printed book, with some mentioning the technology and e-book services offered at some libraries. For my students who are not avid readers, but casual or only if you force them to read kind of readers, painted a similar picture of a place for quiet and tons of books, they voiced that they are no longer needed as you can get everything through your computer/phone for information and entertainment. After all, who reads a printed book these days?

As I graded them I found myself struck with devistation, all types of readers in my class painted a similar picture for libraries. An instution that houses information in print form, where people can find quiet. They even depicted their school library the same way, when we very recently just opened it, and it is a far cry from the library of my high school day. Outlets, views, some stacks are out in the general circulation, mostly fiction, with some non-fiction, however there is more space for collaboration, meeting up, hanging out with friends, plug into cyberspace, using smart tech to advance your learning and/or entertainment experience, and the non-fiction collection are housed in the back in reference stacks, accessible only to the librarian and clerical staff, which makes more space for students to congregate, or find a space for quiet reflection. Its a mixture of the traditional library and the Techy age. So, I asked myself, why do students...scratch that. Why does the general population see the library as a place to keep quiet and find old books?

The answer my friend is complexly simple, we have portrayed it this way. We have created an illusion that to have knowledge is to be among the highest of men and women, whom thrive on philosophy and wisdom. However, today is not so much about wisdom and more about experience. Technological advancements have given us another way to experience the world around us. It can disconnect or reconnect us with people and/or nature, depending on the experience we desire. Yet, even as technology advances, we still see in our media, news, and entertianment a contemplation of the by-gone era where libraries meant knowledge and with that knowledge you gained prestige. Knowledge does not necessarily mean prestige, as I have a myriad of knowledge about the Harry Potter Canon, but it doesn't mean I should have my Ph.D. in Wizard Litrature.

Although the library was meant to provide a central location of diverse and abundant information for the public and/or academics of the world, its central purpose was to create open access to information. Many areas today consist of a low income population, where ensuring food is on the table is more important than wi-fi or the newest tech, so where do they get their information? Furthermore, ever wonder where your club can meet and enjoy fellowship with each other without bombarding someone at their home, libraries often host organization meetings and events. Book signings, workshops, classes, and so much more goes on at the library.

Yes, every library has the wonderous shelves, filled with the traditional ancient texts of Shakespeare, Shelley, Rowling, Patterson, and more. You can breathe in the melodious scents of the printed page and curl up in a corner of peace and quiet. However, do not be drawn into the illusion that this is all the library has to offer. It provides safe sanctuary to many people for many different reasons. It may be the age of technology, but it is also the age of connection. Just go to you local library and ask the librarian, "How can I connect to my world?"

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Let's BookTalk: Jennifer Donnelly's Lost in a Book

So, we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast. Belle, a strong and intelligent young woman from a French village, takes her father’s place as a prisoner at the castle of the Beast, a vapid prince who was cursed by an enchantress. They fall in love, go through conflict, overcome the conflict, and then live happily ever after.

Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book, tells the story of what happened while Belle was a “prisoner” of the Beast, as well as gives us a glimpse of why the enchantress cursed the peace and who she really is.

“Reading became my sanctuary,” Belle continued. “I found so much in those books. I found histories that inspired me. Poems that delighted me. Novels that challenged me…” Belle paused, suddenly self-conscious. She looked down at her hands, and in a wistful voice, said, “What I really found, though, was myself.” (p. 19)

After the Beast gives Belle the library and all its collection, Belle discovers a book within the library that shows her a world of adventure, knowledge, and freedom. However, the enchantress who created the book, Madame …, is more than she seems.

Love and Death are in a competition that has gone on since the beginning of time. Love, believes the Beast can be saved and that Belle will be the one who saves him, through love. Death, knows she is all powerful, because sooner or later, everyone journeys with death. And so, Belle and Beast are caught in the middle of the ongoing game of Love versus Death.

“Love is not for cowards.” (p. 111)

“Something There" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Friday, June 9, 2017

Let's Booktalk: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Book cover taken from

“If I’m at a party where I’m not enjoying myself, I will put some cookies in my jacket pocket and leave without saying good-bye.” from Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Sometimes you just need to have a conversation with yourself about where you fit in, in your life. Other times you need to share your revelations about what you've learned from trying to fit in and make it in this world.

Mindy Kaling is a writer, actress, comedian, daughter, and so much more. Or at least that is what she shows you throughout her memoir regarding growing up, trying to make it as a comedian in the "Big Apple," and dealing with the monster that is fame.

Giving us nuggets of truth and morsels of comedy that only the reality that is life can bring you, Mindy takes the reader on a journey through snippets of her life whether she comes off as a bad ass or the poster child for the definition of "awkward".

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Let's Booktalk: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Book cover taken from
Beautiful Creatures is about a sixteen year old boy that has always thought he was different from others, but he still has a decent amount of friends.

Ethan Wate is from Gatin, South Carolina. He really dislikes the town and wants to move away. Lately he has been having dreams about this creature, well more like human, but he dreams of her like someone who is different from any other person in the world.

Lena Duchannes is also a very different girl. She has different traits, or let's just say she is unique. Lena also dreams about a guy who is different. Well, Lena had to move to Gatin with her uncle. After she moved and started school, she observed everyone. And, BOOM! She saw the guy she's been seeing in her dreams, his name was Ethan Wate. Yes! The boy that also has been dreaming about a girl, Lena.

Well they met in a class, but Lena had people talking about her because of her family. They were saying her family were freaks or devil worshipers. What they didn't know is that what they were saying was half true. They were just starting to gossip and being jerks. But, Lena's family weren't devil worshipers or freaks, they were so much more.

Ethan and Lena finally met in a road where her car broke down and Ethan saw her there, offering her a ride home. When they got to her house, Lena's uncle came out and kicked Ethan off of the property without so much as touching him. Lena was told to get into the house. Her uncle said she was not aloud to ever see or talk to Ethan again, but she didn't understand why. Ethan, who had never done anything to the uncle didn't understand why. He never did anything bad and he was a really good kid. It wasn't until their live's changed and their paths united that they without knowing...

Well, let's just say without each other, the world itself could be ruled by darkness.

Booktalk written by Alexis Cano

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's Booktalk: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

“I don't like work--no man does--but I like what is in the work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself not for others--what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.” from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Marlow is a man of philosophy, skepticism and independence. As such he craves escape within his employment that will take him away from the mundane life amidst "civilized" society. So, when he is hired to be captain of a crew bound to enter the heart of the Congo he believes he has found what he wants. Yet, he becomes infatuated with the idea of the man Kurtz. Kurtz is the object of his exploration, as he is to deliver aid to a man who is overcome with illness. But is it a sickness of the body or of the mind?

Kurtz is the chief of the central station, however he has fallen ill from some sort of disease. He is known to be a man of artistic talent, but he has the power to bend men's wills in order to follow him. He is also a conspirator against his employers, and perhaps more. 

Is Kurtz's ability and prowess what has caused his illness and hunger for power? Or, has the illness caused this great man to become a representation of darkness itself? Can Marlow put a stop to the man he has come to admire? Or will he join him?

Apocalypse Now, a film by Francis Ford Coppola (1979) 
and based on Conrad's novel.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let’s Booktalk: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

Four years after their union, Darcy and Elizabeth are in marital bliss. They go for walks together, visit family and friends together, decapitate flesh eating zombies together, just your typical couple stuff. Things take a turn for the worse though when Darcy becomes infected with the unmentionable decease, and Lizzy is forced to enlist the help of Darcy’s aunt.

The deal. Aunt Catherine will only help Darcy if Lizzy agrees to never see him again. The dilemma. Darcy awakes to find his wife gone on the hunt for the cure, and his infected cousin trying to seduce him. The truth. Zombies love to eat brains.

What will fate bestow upon our two lovers? Can there be a happily ever after, even when your undead? Or, is it best to just chop your head off?

 Get your nerd on!!! Think zombie preparedness is just a pop culture fad? Think again, the CDC takes it seriously because it is more than just preparing for a zombie apocalypse. Check out the CDC!

Let’s Booktalk: Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

“Are you familiar with the phrase unreliable narrator? Maybe from English-lit class? It’s when the storyteller might not be worthy of your trust. In fact, the storyteller might be a complete liar. So given what I just said, you’re probably wondering: Is that me?”

A person could say the Angel family name was a false advertisement, which may be why the Angel children are suspected of murdering their parents.

Tandy was roused from sleep by the buzzer of her family’s apartment located on Dakota near Central Park in New York City. The police were waiting to be let in for some reason, and all she knew was that if they didn’t quiet down her parents would be mad for having been disturbed. But, then a horrifying reality ensued when she found out that her parents were dead and the police were looking to set up one of the Angel children with the murder.

Tandy along with the help from her siblings will find the terrible truth of their parents death, and what it means to be an Angel.

Let’s Booktalk: Trouble Maker, a Barnaby and Hooker graphic novel by Janet & Alex Evanovich

“For the record, I didn’t kill the guy I just found him.”

Alex Barnaby, Barney to most, is a blonde bombshell racecar mechanic living in Miami. Sam Hooker is a sexy racecar driver that knows how to push her buttons. Together with their Saint Bernard dog Beans, they will find themselves facing down a whole lot of trouble as they work to save a friend, find buried treasure, and avoid being cursed by a voodoo priest.

Rosa and Felicia are Barney’s good friends, but even good friends know how to get you in trouble. Rosa has been kidnapped for reasons unknown, and Felicia enlists Barney’s help. Hooker comes along for the ride, how much trouble can they get into anyways? But when a woman is carrying a bazooka you can expect trouble.

“I prefer the term ‘Bazooka.’ If things start to go bad with Nitro, one shot from the old equalizer here will change his mind fast.”

Let’s Booktalk: Sense and Sensibilty and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

After losing their father, the Dashwood sisters and their mother find themselves in need of new living quarters, as they cannot inherit the house or money left by their father. Sea monsters though can make finding suitable living quarters difficult, not to mention they do cramp a girl’s style when it comes to looking for romance.

England’s greatest triumph, the Submarine Station Beta. A dome structure located in the deep sea of the English channel, where the good citizens of England can live in harmony and safety from sea monsters. But it does not protect the Dashwood sisters from the pain of a broken heart. Will the Dashwood women find happiness and love? Or, will defeating a sea creature from the deep prove to be the easier task?