Monday, May 31, 2010

Review Format

If I have learned anything in the short time I've been blogging, it is that a blogger must find her voice. Yesterday's review post marked the end of that particular review format. I'm still tweaking it to what I like, but I think the new format will be better for the "busy librarian" as well as more informative as I'm forcing myself to focus less on the plot and more on the details as well as giving you the information most relevant to you first.

Remember, if you ever have any question, please e-mail me or leave a comment. I'd love to be of help. :)

Here's to June!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Owly 1 and 2 by Andy Runton

Title: Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer (vol. 1) and Just a Little Blue (vol. 2)
Author: Andy Runton
Illustrator: Andy Runton
Copyright: 2003-2006
Price: $10.00 each
ISBN: 1-891830-7 (vol. 1)
1-891830-64-3 (vol. 2)
Summary: Owly is a little happy owl who takes care of the little animals of the woods. One day, during a rain storm, Owly find a little worm, shivering and unconscious from the storm. Owly takes Wormy to his home and nurses him back to health. What follows is a journey to reunite Wormy and his family in The Way Home. Two hummingbirds enjoy the garden Owly prepares for them, but something happens to the other hummingbird in The Bittersweet Summer.
Volume 2 is dedicated to a nasty blue bird, his family, and Owly and Wormy’s determination to become their friends while providing the family with a safe shelter. Most of the stories are told without words, except those on signs or written by Owly.
Thoughts: I have known about Owly for a while now, but never really looked at it until a friend of mine, started squealing over how adorable this book was. Naturally I picked up two of the copies at my library. If you do not have this book, you should. The Owly books have little to no words which means the story is implied with symbols, punctuation marks, and actions. As I “read” these, I couldn’t help but think how perfect these books are for reluctant readers and those with other learning concerns because the images speak for themselves. This is another series, I happily, recommend to any library because of the cuteness and the learning opportunities this work provides.
Will Teens Like It? Yes. What’s not to like about a cute owl with big eyes?
Things to be aware of: Clean, unless you’re scared of cute stories of friendship.
Bonus: Watching The Philosopher Musician croon over how adorable this comic is adds more appeal to this. If it makes adults melt, teens will enjoy it, and again, this is a wonderful learning tool. Expect more reviews of this adorable title.

Source: Library.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yotsuba&! 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 1
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Illustrator: Kiyohiko Azuma
Publisher: ADV Manga
Copyright: 2005
Price: N/A
ISBN: 1-4176-9231-6
Summary: Green haired, young girl, Yotsuba and her dad have just moved into a new neighborhood. For Yotsuba, this means new friends with the three sisters next door and more exciting adventures. In her first day exploring, Yotsuba pretends to be a cicada, on an electrical pole, and learns who her new neighbors are in a surprising way. The next day, Yotsuba forgets that her and her father has moved. After a word from her father, she remembers and starts another day of adventures, by climbing out the bathroom window. Throughout the volume, she learns about air conditioning and global warming while the readers learn that Yotsuba was adopted by her father and that Yotsuba loves life.
Thoughts: What isn’t there to love about crazy, life loving Yotsuba? From the creator of Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba&! is a story about a young girl learning the ways of the world. She is comedic in her naivety and loveable for the same reason. This is laugh out loud, good clean fun (with a little bit of sexual humor) prompting the reader to look at the world the way Yotsuba does. This is, to me, a classic manga title that every collection should have.
Will Teens Like It? Probably. It is a funny story and you just can’t put it down until you know Yotsuba is safe and back at home.
Things to be aware of: slight sexual humor
Bonus: Reviewed a library copy (which is a library edition).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Azumanga Daioh: The Manga 1 created by Kiyohiko Azuma

Title: Azumanga Daioh: The Manga vol. 1
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma (creator)
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: ADV Manga
Copyright: 2000
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 1-41-390000-3
Summary: In this work, a collection of comic strips tell the story of high school and the difficulties of being a student or a teacher. A wide array of characters enter the scene, each a stereotype, but with a deeper, hidden side that fleshes them out. Some characters include a male teacher who is only a teacher because of the high school girls, and a tall, cool student named Sakaki, who just wishes for a cute cuddly friend of her own.
Thoughts: This title came to me as a recommendation from a friend and is one of those titles that is a must read for manga fans. The format of this book is similar to Garfield with 4 panel “strips” instead of a story book. While they are separated, the strips do seem to have a coherent plot line and build upon each other. The characters in the book are hilariously stereotyped, but with a different side the reader sees. It is a laugh out loud, humorous book and cornerstone piece for manga collections.
Will Teens Like It? Probably, but this might be a little more adult in nature. There is teacher drama, student drama, and relatable situations.
Things to be aware of: sexual humor, drinking
Source: Library copy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Queens Library in New York

Foolishly I've been relatively quiet on the issue of Queens Library. I really shouldn't but lately I haven't felt any hope that my own state's libraries (or my job at the end of the year) could be saved so why should I care about Queens Library in NY?

Because I know a fantastic woman who works there. Through a good librarian friend, who met the Queens Librarian thanks to a shared Harrison Ford obsession, I met this librarian when she visited my area and had a fantastic lunch at a new favorite restaurant where we talked libraries, meetings, and just other fun stuff. It was a great lunch and a warm memory.

This librarian also has a lot in relation to my mom, which could be why I'm quite frankly begging you to pass the petition along. Oh and I think they won some award from Library Journal a while back. Why are the award winners the first to go?

Please sign the petition. You don't have to live in NY to do so.

Thank you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vimanarama by Grant Morison, Philip Bond, et al.

Title: Vimanarama
Author: Grant Morrison, et al.
Illustrator: Philip Bond, et al.
Publisher: Vertigo
Copyright: 2005
Price: $12.99
ISBN: 1-4012-0496-1
Summary: Meet Ali, the scholarly son of a Pakistani family living in London. His biggest concerns at the moment are saving his brother from a box of Turkish Delights that fell on him when the floor disappeared and whether or not his father chose an ugly future wife for him. After his brother is in the hospital, Ali visits him and declares he’ll kill himself if his future wife is ugly. Ali is interrupted as he has to rescue (I believe) his nephew who unwittingly releases the dark forces upon the Earth. To complicate matters, Ali and the beautiful Sofia, his future bride, release the good forces including Prince Ben Rama, who loves Sofia immediately as she is the exact genetic makeup of his past love. All this and more occurs as the world faces certain end and the rebirth of a new culture.
Thoughts: What a fun story! The more I think about it, the more I enjoy the fun artwork, the quirky superhero story, and the adventures of Ali. I am a little confused as to their background/culture (which is supposed to be Pakistani) but I actually looked past that just for the story. Overall, a good fun read with a little moral about being kind and caring for the environment. Although, I am a little unsure about its place in a YA graphic novel collection as I can see both sides. It is up to you, but I recommend a glance thru.
Will Teens Like It? Probably. Grant Morrison has a following (“W00t!” – The Philosopher Musician) and it will definitely appeal to high school teens as there is the question of what happens in the future.
Things to be aware of: Nudity (in a non-sexual way), a head is ripped from the body, suicide (of the hanging variety)
Source: Library.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the 4th Be With You: Linky Linky

May is the ULTIMATE month for Geeks it seems. First, we comic geeks have Free Comic Book Day (pics of my goodies soon to come. Probably Thursday) and today is May the 4th Be With You Day (for Star Wars Nerds/Geeks which includes one of my best guy friends). And there just seems to be a lot of good articles, although, some may be from last week a.k.a. April.

I'm predicting a trend toward graphic novels soon. I was at a workshop on Thursday where I brought this up in a discussion about words and how teens and the younger set use text messaging more and more than older communication forms (Pew Research Center). There just seems to be more graphic novels than ever since I started reading them at the tender age of 14 or 16 (really longer than that, but I became serious then). First, the bookstores had one shelf section, now there's 3-5 sections and it is overwhelming and growing. With text messaging, I think that graphic novels will be the next book craze simply because less text, more images. There's also a different reading skill involved, although it is the same (it's very hard to explain). I'm also noticing a trend in the kidlit blogosphere that every once in a while a graphic novel pops up where I'm pretty sure there wasn't any before (but I've only been in this for 6 months to a year).

This is interesting. The trends of high school students from those at School Library Journal. The real reason I link to it though, is look at the center blurb. Graphic novels and the appeal is explained well. Although, the zombies in the top blurb are interesting...

Publishers Weekly had a great article, which I think every librarian should see. Here's a Google Cached version (please tell me if it doesn't work). The article talks about a librarian and an ALA rep who spoke at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo about censorship, library policies to include dealing with graphic novels, and more. The article also covers the recent issue over the 11 yr old and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier challenge from a library staff worker, Tin Tin In The Congo, and Blankets. Overall, I thought this was a very informative article and includes what librarians need to think about when supporting graphic novels (and please do!).

Lastly, CNN's Geek Out! Blog has made the rounds on my Twitter feed because of the Shirt Discussion. Basically, this article talks about how Geeks really enjoy fun shirts such as the shirt featured on the blog. These shirts connect us Geeks in various ways. Let me explain. First, I own that shirt and in fact, I own many other "Geek Shirts" to show my geek cred. I've mainly aquired bookish shirts such as Bibliophabian (gift), She Blinded Me With Library Science Tote (gift), Science Is a Verb Now (gift) and more from Unshelved's Store Threadless (not mentioned in the article, but should be because I have two Batman shirts from there). Just to throw it out there I want White Text On a Black Shirt. It showed up in Questionable Content (NSFW) and it was just brilliant. Many of his t-shirts come from his comics, i.e. She Blinded Me With Library Science.

The She Blinded Me With Library Science Story to illustrate the above article.
In the comic, the character who is technically Marten's Boss at the All Girls School College Library is a lesbian and first appeared in the series with a text shirt saying "She Blinded Me With Library Science." At the time, this became a heavily requested shirt to be made and when it was, everyone was excited!

In 2008, I went to the state library conference and on the first day, someone was wearing this shirt. I told my mom excitedly I knew about that shirt and I admired her for wearing that t-shirt! Unfortunately, I didn't introduce myself to her and she could have been a good friend. She actually wore pretty awesome clothes and was in many of the workshops I was in. This Christmas, my best guy friend got me the bag and the Science is a Verb Shirt (and Bibliophabian a few Christmases ago). Basically, I recognized a fellow Geek and QC reader. These shirts do more than make a statement for Geeks, it connects us. If you still don't get it, think about your library themed shirts. Same thing.

May the 4th Be With You Today!