ALSC Institute Registration Open, Review of the Week

ALSC InstituteALSC Institute Registration Open

Registration for the 2014 ALSC National Institute is now open– a great development and networking opportunity for library staff working in youth services.  This biennial conference moves around the country so don’t miss the chance to catch it in September 2014 in Oakland CA (because we know you can’t get enough of Oakland!).

Review of the Week

zeno and alyaKelley, Jane. The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya.  Fiction. Feiwel, 2013. 201p. $15.99. 978-1-250-02348-3.  OUTSTANDING GRADES. Grades 5-8.

Inspired by Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s work with Alex(Alex and Me, Collins, 2008), The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya follows an orphaned African grey parrot and a young cancer patient as they learn to navigate their new realities, depending on each other for comfort and motivation. While both characters show depth and growth, the narration especially highlights the internal life of the parrot, Zeno, and his emotional development. Zeno’s point of view is presented without being overly anthropomorphic, making him believable as a bird. Alya’s adventure does not take her far from her Brooklyn brownstone; it is her internal struggle and physical effort to get better, inspired by Zeno, that leads her back “home.” The strength of the book comes from the relationship between the characters, which dramatizes the powerful bond between humans and animals. Despite the theme of death running through the story, the reader is left with a hopeful message that makes the book very satisfying.  Review based on an ARC.

Tracy Dodge, Alameda Co Library

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