Read-alikes for Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series

Land of StoriesRead-alikes for Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series.

Bach, Shelby. Of Giants and Ice series. S&S, 2012.

Baker, E.D. The Wide-Awake Princess series. Bloomsbury, 2010.

Barnhill, Kelly. Iron Hearted Violet. Little Brown, 2012.

Burt, Marissa. Storybound series. HarperCollins, 2012.

Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories: the Wishing Spell. Little Brown, 2012.
The Land of Stories: the Enchantress Returns. 2013.
The Land of Stories: a Grimm Warning. 2014.

Columbus, Chris. The House of Secrets. Balzer+Bray, 2013.

Funke, Cornelia. Inkheart. Scholastic, 2005.

Gidwitz, Adam. A Tale Dark & Grimm series. Dutton, 2010.

Grabenstein, Chris. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Random, 2013.

Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy. Bloomsbury, 2005.

Healy, Christopher. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom series. Walden Pond, 2012.

Littlewood, Kathryn. Bliss series. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012.

McGowan, Keith. The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children. Holt, 2009.

Mlynowski, Sarah. Fairest of All series. Scholastic, 2012-2015.

Oliver, Lauren. The Spindlers. HarperCollins, 2012.

Richards, Jasmine. The Book of Wonders. Harper, 2012.

Riley, James. Half Upon a Time series. Aladdin, 2010.

Shurtliff, Liesl. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstilskin. Knopf, 2013.

Soman, Chainani. The School for Good and Evil. HarperCollins, 2013.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Three Good Deeds. Harcourt, 2005.

Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ. School of Information Science

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Latino Heritage Faire, Joanne Rocklin at Arne Nixon Center

LatinoLatino Heritage Fair – San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin St. (at Grove) (415) 557-4277
Saturday, October 11, 2014 • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
San Francisco Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room

The fair will showcase the SF Latino Historical Society and SF Heritage’s “Nuestra Historia,” including a project to create a citywide Latino historic context statement; the Latino Digital Archive Group, which is preserving Latino history into the digital future; StoryCorps’ Historias Initiative; and the San Francisco History Center. Learn how to preserve your own photographs and documents and check out the Library’s historical resources.

From 1-5 p.m., bring your own photographs highlighting historic Bay Area locations associated with Latino history to digitize and share with the Library archives. Limit 10 photos per person; first come, first served. Representantes bilingües estarán disponibles para ayudar.
The Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and ANCA (the Arne Nixon Center Advocates) invite everyone to attend a presentation by award-winning author Joanne Rocklin, the guest speaker for ANCA’s 2014 Annual Meeting on Friday, October 24. The meeting will be held at Fresno State in the Henry Madden Library, Auditorium Room 2206 (2nd floor, South wing). A catered reception will begin at 6:00 p.m., with Rocklin’s talk to begin at 7:00 p.m.
Joanne Rocklin, Ph. D., has written over 20 books for children, encompassing several genres. She has a doctorate in psychology and is a former elementary school teacher, presently writing children’s books full-time. Her books include The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook, One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street, and For Your Eyes Only! Her books have received numerous awards and honors. Rocklin’s newest book, Fleabrain Loves Franny, tells the story of Franny Katzenback. Set in Pittsburgh in 1952, polio-stricken Franny finds herself trapped and lonely and in need of a friend. Rocklin’s talk is free of charge and open to the public. A brief administrative meeting will be held during the first few minutes of the program. Rocklin’s books will be available for sale and autographing after the presentation. Parking in Lots P30 and P31 (closest to the Library) will be unrestricted. Please make reservations by October 22 by sending email to Jami Sanford at or by calling the Center at 559.278.8116. Reservations can also be made by replying to and using the passcode rocklin2014.

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Review of the Week – “Brown Girl Dreaming”

brown girl dreamingWoodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming.Non-fiction. Penguin, 2014. 336p. $16.99. 978-0-399-25251-8.

Jacqueline Woodson shares her experience of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s through a series of poem vignettes. With the Civil Rights movement as backdrop, readers follow word-loving Jacqueline as she travels with her mother and siblings from her birthplace in Columbus, Ohio, to her grandparents’ home in rural South Carolina, to a place of their own in New York City. Family members, including her book-obsessed sister, her Jehovah’s Witness grandmother, and her beloved grandfather, come alive in spare verse sprinkled with illuminating details:
“At dusk, just as the fireflies flicker on, my grandfather makes his way home. We see him coming slow down the road, his silver lunch box bouncing soft against his leg. Now, as he gets closer, we hear him singing.” This quiet book requires a special reader, one willing to forego action for a window into the life of a young girl finding her voice in tumultuous times.
Jenny Andrus, Live Oak School

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ALSC Institute Shines in Oakland

Breakfast for BillPenny Peck introduces authors Tim Federle, Rita Williams-Garcia, Pamela Munoz-Ryan, and Gene Yang at the Breakfast for Bill, ALSC Institute in Oakland, CA,  Sept. 19, 2014.

Oakland, CA was the site of the three-day ALSC Institute, a whirlwind of workshops, author panels, speeches, and events celebrating children’s books and library service to children. The Breakfast for Bill (pictured above) focused on literature for tweens (grades 4-8) reflecting cultural diversity; other workshops offered tips on storytimes, services to children with special needs, and other related topics. Speeches by authors Steve Sheinkin and Andrea Davis Pinkney book-ended the conference, and the afternoon session at Children’s Fairyland was a triumphant success.

Many members of the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California were in attendance, serving as volunteer ushers and assistants, and presenting several of the workshops and breakout sessions. Nina Lindsay of Oakland Public Library was the chair of the task force that organized the ALSC Institute, motivating all of us to show the many talents and skills of local children’s librarians. For more on the Institute, be sure to check out the ALSC Blog: Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on the Institute, especially the gracious Nina, and thanks to everyone who volunteered to help make it a ringing success!

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Review of the Week – Revolution by Deborah Wiles

revolutionWiles, Deborah. Revolution. Fiction. Sixties Trilogy Series. Scholastic, 2014. 495p. $19.99. 978-0-545-10607-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 5-9.
Sunny, a 12-year-old white girl in 1964 Mississippi, is the main narrator of this thoughtful novel, describing the summer when Northern college students came to town to help African Americans register to vote and run summer programs for children. One volunteer, Jo Ellen (from Wiles’ Countdown, 2010), has a major influence on motherless Sunny. There is a secondary narrator, Raymond, an African American teen in the same town; the reader gets to hear his take on the Freedom Summer experience in contrast to Sunny’s experience. This novel stands alone (one does not need to read Countdown to follow Revolution), and like the first book, it contains a wealth of photographs, posters, song lyrics, and newspaper clippings from that time, including information on the war in Vietnam. The factual illustrative matter helps to set the plot in context, showing that similar events actually happened to real people, giving the story more resonance than the average novel. Pair with non-fiction selections Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell (2014) or Freedom Summer by Susan Rubin Goldman (Holiday, 2014).

Penny Peck, SJSU SLIS

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Rita Williams-Garcia at Mrs. Dalloway’s Sept. 19, Nat’l Book Award Long List

WilliamsRita Williams-Garcia at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore on Sept. 19th:
Newbery Honor author Rita Williams-Garcia will be at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, at 7:30pm. She will be interviewed by Carla Riemer (ACL member and librarian at Claremont Middle School). Williams-Garcia’s books include One Crazy Summer, which is set in Oakland in the late 1960’s, and her latest book P.S. Be Eleven won the Coretta Scott King Award. Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore is located at 2904 College Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705, phone 510-74-8222.

National Book Award Long List Announced:
Check out the website listed below for the Long List (nominees) for the National Book Award Young People’s category. The award will be announced in November 2014.

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Professional Reading – “Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature

Wild ThingsBird, Betsy, Julie Danielson and Peter D. Sieruta. Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature. Candlewick, 2014. 278p. $22.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5150-3.
Most professional reading is instructive, but some books rise above that and are also filled with personal stories that make the book memorable and pleasurable. Wild Things! by three children’s book bloggers is the latter, filled with fun, almost gossip-like history and anecdotes but not mean-spirited. The tone is friendly, like hearing a colleague who knows the inside scoop on a famous person, but with source notes to back up all the information.
Topics covered include “subversive” children’s lit, GLBT authors and characters, books that attract censors, popular books that critics disliked, books by celebrities, and how money propels some publishing. Some topics, such as the Stratemeyer Syndicate that produced Nancy Drew, have been covered in many previous articles and books. But other topics, like Roald Dahl’s sexual escapades as part of his spying activities are lesser known.
One of the most interesting sections concerns the many GLBT children’s book creators and how their “outsider status” likely contributed to their ability to capture that feeling in their characters, including Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy (1965). Although they are quite critical of many celebrity authors like Madonna, the authors were quite clear in pointing out some actors who have created critically acclaimed books, including Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Ian Black.
Librarians will also appreciate the chapters on the attempts by some to ban or censor books for children, from the taboo topics of sex and death, to racist aspects of classics – or books that battle racism like Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This Newbery Medal-winning book used the N-word because it is historically accurate and important to the depiction of racism in the story. Sometimes these censors are librarians, who refuse to stock popular series books because they are not considered great literature.
All in all, this is a great book to read for entertainment but it is enlightening too, like a health food that tastes really good. Treat yourself to this joyous celebration of the wilder side of children’s lit, knowing there are plenty of vitamins inside. Back matter includes extensive source notes, lengthy bibliography, and index.

Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ. iSchool

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