LIBRARY IDEA FOR SEPTEMBER:

HISTORY OF BOOK CENSORSHIP: This presentation is perfect for Banned Books Week or as an introduction to book burning in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The slides give a brief history of nine censorship and book banning incidents in world history.

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THE MAID: Molly’s orderly life as a hotel maid is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect.

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This article is 10 essential tips for new school librarians. These are the 10 things you should do FIRST in your new school library.

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This is a collection of fun ideas for middle school library orientation. Even if you don't use the ideas, the videos are a lot of fun to watch!

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Review: Vampire Rising

AUTHOR: Jason Henderson
SERIES: Alex Van Helsing, book 1  
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen    
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2010
ISBN:  9780061950995
PAGES: 272
SOURCE: My library
GENRE: Action-adventure, vampires
RECOMMENDED FOR: MS
GIVE IT TO: boys ages 11-13 
OVERALL RATING: Recommended

SUMMARY: Alex Van Helsing is not your typical 14-year old boy; as the great-great-great grandson of Abraham Van Helsing, who killed Dracula centuries ago, Alex is destined to follow the family legacy as a vampire hunter. When a powerful vampire kidnaps two of his friends, Alex must venture into Scholomance, a hidden vampire school, to get them back.  

WHAT I LIKED:  What is it about Lord Bryon? Vampire Rising is the second book I’ve read IN A ROW that features Lord Byron (yes THAT Lord Byron) as an immortal vampire interacting with modern-day teenagers. What are the odds? (The other book was Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.)  

What The DaVinci Code does for The Last Supper, Vampire Rising does for Frankenstein and Dracula. While studying Frankenstein in college, I heard the story of the night that Mary Shelley and her friends (including Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron) sat around one night making up ghost stories. Henderson uses this introduction to Frankenstein as a basis for the story of how Dracula slayer Abraham Van Helsing’s great-great-great grandson continues the vampire-hunting legacy. I kept wondering where the lines of history and fantasy meet–what is true and what is fabricated? Really, such a cool concept.

With all his contact-lens trouble, bully woes, and unintended troubles in school, Alex Van Helsing is a character that many young readers will relate to. Uninformed about his family’s vampire-hunting legacy, Alex must figure out this vampire stuff right along with the reader. Bullies Merrill & Merrill get progressively worse, and young readers who are encountering the same problem will identify with Alex’s attempts to avoid them. And can I just say, thank you, thank you, thank you to Jason Henderson for making a literature teacher a motorcycle-riding, kick-ass vampire slayer. You have just upped the cool factor of book nerds everywhere.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Action-packed with plenty of fighting scenes, Vampire Rising will appeal to some readers easily, but I think others will be a little harder to sell. It’s refreshing to read about bloodthirsty, non-sparkly vampires, but on the heels of the Twilight craze, many of my middle school readers still ask for steamy vampire romances. Also, what Vampire Rising has in its action scenes, it lacks in character development. Readers know virtually nothing about Sangster, Sid, Paul, and Minhi. The sequel Voice of the Undead was just released this week, so maybe these characters will gain some personality in the next book.

CONTENT:

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: none
  • Violence: medium; lots of vampire fighting scenes; vampires drinking blood
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it, and since it is on the Texas Lone Star list for 2011-2012, it will be popular in the library this school year.

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