Friday, December 14, 2012

Paperback Book Tree Library Display

One of the parts of my new library job is setting up teen book displays. So far, it's been quite easy: scary books for Halloween, and then a pick of my favorites as a way of introducing myself. Now, though, I'm into thematic seasonal displays, so I thought I'd start off fairly easy with holiday picks.

That was easier said than done. There are simply not that many decent holiday YA books (and my small library owns even fewer). I cobbled together what I could (my favorite being Let It Snow - no really, read it now!), but I wanted to make the display a little more interesting.

Enter the paperback book trees! I have stacks of stripped paperbacks from my bookstore days, saved with the intent to recycle them in crafty ways. What better use than Christmas trees? They're simple to make, especially as a way of keeping your hands busy while watching tv.

I made these in part as an entry in the Pin It and Do It Holiday Challenge, and when I went to the challenge's link up page, I noticed that another bloggy Pam had already posted a fantastic tutorial for these trees. Her pictures are great, so check it out if you're interested in making some. I made one exactly as she shows, and for the second, I didn't fold in the final flap (which doesn't sit quite as well, but I think I like better. It's the one on the left above). Each of my trees is made from a section of 200 pages (100 pieces of paper) from a book - it's really all you need, so you can probably get two trees out of one book. I also lightly painted my finished trees with some glittery green paint.

And finally, for the sign, I jammed two skewers into the centers of the books and tapped my printed sign to them. I like how they look in the display!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Let It Snow

I depend on Christmas movies and Christmas music to get me into the mood this time of the year, but I very rarely look to books to do the same. Why not? Especially for someone as bookish as I am. I mean, there are a few I mentioned below, but they're mostly kids book.

So when I started pulling together a YA holiday display for my library, I was amazed that I couldn't find all that many. Of what I could find, there were very few I actually wanted to read. Luckily, Let It Snow was the one that I jumped at, and I'm so glad I did. It's really helped get me in the mood this year.

Frankly, the names on the cover were enough to get me to pick it up. I am a HUGE John Green fan, and I really enjoy the Maureen Johnson stuff I've read. (I'm not such a fan of Lauren Myracle, but I understand why a lot of kids love her.)

I thought this was going to be three separate short stories, but it turned out to be three inter-related short stories. Even better! They all start on Christmas Eve in a small town after a train has to stop for the night due to snow. The main character from one story becomes a supporting character in the next, and the same small-town odd folks show up in all of them. The stories, heavy on teen angst and romance, tie together beautifully. Think of it as an American teen Love Actually that all takes place in one night. If that doesn't get you to pick it up, then we can't be friends.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review: Bomb

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and I read even less Young Adult non-fiction, but when I saw review after review giving high praise to Steve Sheinkin's Bomb, I thought I should at least give it a try.

And now I'm wondering why more history books aren't written exactly like this one. It's like reading a thriller spy novel, except I knew that it was all real! Sheinkin did massive amounts of research (as you would need to for a book like this), but most importantly, he included TONS of direct quotes from the people involved. It gave the whole story a much more immediate feel, which is definitely part of its success. In fact, while this makes a perfect YA history book, I'm sure there are many adults who would love this book too.

My only issue with the book was that I had problems following all the different people involved. This is a story, after all, that takes place over years and years and over the span of the ENTIRE globe. There is a substantial cast of characters. And while there were some photos of the people throughout the book, I would have loved an appendix listing everyone with a short description of their roles or even a photograph of them. A map or two wouldn't have hurt either, but then, I'm a very visual learner.

For history buffs, Bomb is definitely a must-read.