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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BOOK OF NIGHTCharlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make.

She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall…

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Library Challenge #1 tasks you with an annual review (or maybe your first review) of your library's Selection and Reconsideration Policies.

LIBRARY CHALLENGE #1 Are library book challenges scary? I think so! But they are much less scary when you have a strong plan. When you know exactly what to do

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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.

You’ve landed a brand new school librarian job–congratulations! All summer, you’ve looked forward to standing in the middle of your very own library, taking a deep breath, and reveling in

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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!

Ahh, the first day of school! Call me crazy, but I’ve always loved it! I will see my first middle school library orientation classes this Wednesday. We have a book

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Review: These Shallow Graves (Donnelly)

Somewhere in the world, pigs must be flying. Maybe there’s a snowball fight happening right now in hell. Because I have smashed my historical fiction reading record this year! I normally read one historical fiction title in a year, maybe. It’s only October, I’ve already read FOUR! Even more surprising is the fact that all four are among my favorites of 2015. Does this mean I don’t need to review another historical novel until 2019? Hmmm…

AUTHOR: Jennifer Donnelly
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Random House Delacorte
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct. 27, 2015
ISBN: 9780385737654
PAGES: 496
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: mystery, historical fiction
SETTING: New York City, 1900
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS

SUMMARY: With the help of a young news reporter named Eddie, 17-year old Josephine Montfort investigates the suspicious circumstances following her father’s sudden suicide.

WHAT I LIKED: These Shallow Graves was a fun read that I recommend for any middle school or high school library. Middle school librarians are advised that there are many references to brothels and girls being forced into prostitution, but I personally would have no issue having this in my middle school library. The references to brothels are relatively clean and give a realistic view of the differences between the aristocratic few and the impoverished masses. Students will know what the brothels are, but no sex is described.

I loved the characters, particularly Josephine. Josephine’s character grew from naive and pampered to courageous and willing to do what it takes to find the truth. I love how she kept asking questions, despite pressure from her family and upper-class society to stop questioning everything. I also loved Eddie and his friend Oskar, the medical student aspiring to work in forensic science. I love the New York City setting, especially during this exciting time in history. Oh, and Grandmama was just a trip! Loved her character and all the discussions of spaniels. Too funny.

Loved the ending!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Well, I figured out the mystery pretty quickly, and I think don’t think too many readers will be surprised when the murders are finally solved. It took 496 pages to get there, but the romance between Eddie and Jo (as well as Grandmama’s antics!) kept me interested. Even though I became bored with the mystery, I had a hard time putting the book down in the last 200 pages.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended for high school. Recommended with caution (brothels) for middle school. Though the murder mystery is easy to solve, the characters, setting, and romance help move things along.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. I can definitely get this one moving with my mystery readers.

READALIKES: Revolution (Donnelly)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 4/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 3/5–496 pages appeals only to the strongest readers
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5–again, 496 pages is a lot for this story

CONTENT:

  • Language: mild; a couple of sh**; multiple damns
  • Sexuality: mild; brothels are large part of story; mild kisses; mild innuendo
  • Violence: mild; autopsies described with some detail; several murders
  • Drugs/Alcohol: 1 reference to champagne; 1 reference to beer

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