PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: September 2021 (Page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Sidelined

 

Sidelined

– Kara Bietz –

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published 21 September 2021

♥♥♥♥

Football, friendship, romance? What’s not to love.

Julian Jackson and Elijah Vance. Once childhood best friends. Now…. Three years after Elijah and his family left town, he has returned. Julian isn’t sure what to think. Does Elijah know it was Julian who called the police and told them Elijah broke the Coach’s window and was going to steal the money? Is Elijah the same boy he remembers? And does he remember that moment before he left? Elijah knows Julian isn’t happy to see him again – he makes that pretty clear. But is there any chance of fixing what was once between them and becoming friends again or something more?

This book is so American and so Texan it’s not funny (though it is delightful). It’s a setting that just jumps from the pages and gives the perfect backdrop to this football-loving romance.

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Book Review: Maybe We’re Electric

 

Maybe We’re Electric

– Val Emmich –

Poppy

Published 21 September 2021

♥♥♥♥

 

Secrets. The secrets we keep to protect ourselves and the secrets we keep for our family. Maybe We’re Electric is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about finding the balance between speaking out and staying silent.

Covering just one night (plus a bit at the end) Maybe We’re Electric brings Tegan and Mac together. They never would have crossed paths – thinking each other in a different world at their school. But Tegan and Mac have far more in common than they think. When a storm hits, they find themselves together in the Thomas Edison museum. Both are running from their family and themselves. Both know they need to speak up about the secrets they are keeping. Both know the fallout from doing so will have far reaching consequences. Over the course of one night they connect and share more than they expected. But can their blossoming relationship survive the night?

Tegan is a compelling – if unreliable – narrator. As she slowly opens up to Mac, we readers also slowly begin to understand the true depth of what she is running from.

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Professional Learning: Genrefication: Beyond the Buzzword

Professional Learning Genrefication: Beyond the Buzzword Webinar with EduWebinar

I had the great privilege of talking genrefication again by presenting a webinar with EduWebinar all about genrefication.

It was great to revisit my genrefication process, especially as I am looking to start all over again at my new school. It was also fascinating to revisit the research in this area and see what the current trends are.

If you would like to view the webinar, you can register for the recording at EduWebinar.

You will find my slides from the presentation below.

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Book Review: If Not Us

 

If Not Us

– Mark Smith –

Text Publishing

Published 28 September 2021

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If Not Us is a standalone novel from the author of the Winter series. Mark Smith creates in If Not Us a story of growing up, falling in love and finding your voice to speak up and be heard. With themes of climate change action, grief, and first love, If Not Us is a relatable novel for teens with an authentic male narrator.

Hesse lives to surf. He works in a surf shop and spends his free time in the waves. His goal is to one day surf the reef called Razors, where his father disappeared at sea and died. When Hesse gets involved in his mother’s environmental group campaign to close a local coal mine and power station, Hesse is thrown into the spotlight. It means taking a stand and his voice becoming the key to the campaign. It also means standing against his friends, whose parents might lose their jobs if the mine is shut down. In the midst of it all, Hesse meets Fenna, an exchange student who is dealing with her own anxiety and decisions about whether to stay in Australia or return home. As the campaign heats up and Hesse’s feelings for Fenna deepen, Hesse has to decide what is most important to him.

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Book Review: Duplex

 

Duplex

– Orson Scott Card –

Blackstone Publishing

Published 7 September 2021

♥♥♥♥/♥

 

Duplex is the companion novel to Lost and Found. It continues in the same vein – a mix of realistic fiction with a mystery twist. Again, the characters have micropowers – like superpowers but too small, insignificant or useless to be deemed super. They are pretty unique and cool, though.

Duplex is a book that takes a while to read. I enjoyed sinking into its slow pace. That’s not to say nothing happens in the story – it does, everything from guys attacking with guns to fake FBI attempted kidnappings. There’s just a lot of space for inner dialogue and time between events. Time for introspection and relationship building. There’s also just time for great writing and descriptions, a feature of Card’s work.

Life changes for Ryan when he finds his dad has moved out and is dividing their family home into a duplex. Soon, Ryan is sleeping on the couch (he doesn’t have a bedroom anymore) and the rooms on the other side of the new walls and staircase house the Horvat family. Ryan meets Bizzy Horvat at school. She can meet his sarcastic wit and quick jibes like no one he’s ever met. When Ryan reacts so quickly and without thought to a bee in Bizzy’s hair (much like he reacted to a bee that stung his sister), he is approached by a guy who claims to discover people who have micropowers. Ryan’s quick reflexes are apparently a micropower and it turns out that Bizzy and her mother also have micropowers and there are a group of people who will stop at nothing to kill the Horvat family. So, Ryan’s quick responses might just come in handy.

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Book Review: Social Queue

Social Queue book cover - light purple background, title and with girl standing above other people

 

Social Queue

– Kay Kerr –

Text Publishing

Published 28 September 2021

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Once again, Kay Kerr delivers a powerful and thoroughly enjoyable contemporary novel about growing up and finding one’s place in the world. Drawing upon her own experiences again, Kerr crafts such a realistic portrayal of social anxiety and trying to navigate everyday interactions, from romance and friendship to family and work life.

Zoe Kelly has survived high school (just) and is starting a new part of her life. No more dealing with bullies, no more autistic masking. An internship at an online media company allows her the freedom to express herself through the written word – something she’s really good at. But when an article about her foray into the dating world goes viral, the responses are a surprise. Apparently, Zoe had a number of admirers in high school and she just never saw the signs. Determined to discover how she missed them and document the process, Zoe meets up with her admirers, starting with her best friend’s brother and working through to a more recent encounter at uni.

Social Queue was honestly just such a delight to read. Some books are just so easy to love. So easy to enjoy. So easy to pick up after a long day at work and just let the world slip away. Social Queue was that for me, but it was also meaningful, insightful, funny, delicious, romantic and hit me right in the “I see you” feels.

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Book Review: Brand Yourself

 

Brand Yourself: A no-nonsense brand toolkit for small businesses

Lucy Werner and Hadrien Chatelet

Practical Inspiration Publishing

Published 7 September 2021

♥♥♥♥/♥

 

I love learning about marketing and branding. And we all know that the best way to learn something is to read a book about it. Brand Yourself is easy to read and approachable and I have finished feeling I have a strong brand outline and clear steps I can take to make my brand stronger.

I always read branding and marketing books through two lenses – my own personal perspective as well as the branding of my school library. Brand Yourself is obviously targeted for business models, but each of the steps it takes readers through to identify a brand, would work perfectly for a library or service.

Brand Yourself is based on the work behind Wern and a quick check of their website and social media feeds shows they practice what they preach. It’s also a good example of what they are trying to show readers.

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Book Review: Beasts of Prey

 

Beasts of Prey

– Ayana Gray –

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Published 28 September 2021

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A lush fantasy, Beasts of Prey is a beautiful as that cover (prettyyyy….). Beasts of Prey is set in an African-inspired fantasy world (and I loved that the author shared the significance of the mythology, culture and languages used in the world in her author’s note).

Koffi is an indentured servant. She and her mother are just months away from paying off their family debt and finally free themselves from the Night Zoo, where they work as beast keepers. But just when freedom is almost within their grasp, a dangerous power Koffi doesn’t truly understand, let alone know how to control, changes everything. Now she must journey into the Greater Jungle to face the most dangerous beast in the land. Ekon is just one task away from finally becoming a Son of the Six, an elite warrior. But when Ekon allows Koffi to escape from the Night Zoo and is shamed and forbidden from completing his entry into the warrior class, Ekon and Koffi unwillingly team up to hunt down the Shetani – the most feared beast in the land.

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Book Review: An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution

 

An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution

Russell Ayto

Kids Can Press

Published 7 September 2021

♥♥♥♥

 

An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution is a simple and straightforward picture book that addresses themes of pollution and easy steps we can take to protect our planet.

Plastic water bottles are the main target of this book. The end papers and large expanses of water in the illustrations are printed with the repeating pattern of plastic bottles. It’s a clear message and speaks to the enormity of the problem.

 

This book doesn’t hide its message of protecting the planet behind metaphors or subtext. It is clearly stated – we have a problem with pollution and there are things we all need to do.

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Book Review: Defy The Night

 

Defy the Night

– Brigid Kemmerer –

Bloomsbury YA

Published 14 September 2021

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Okay, so Brigid Kemmerer is one of my all time favourite authors so it is completely unsurprising that I loved Defy The Night. Maybe not as much as I adore The Curse So Dark and Lonely, but that’s a pretty high standard of adoration to live up to and Defy The Night does not disappoint in any way – it’s just extremely stressful.

Tessa risks everything every night, sneaking into the Royal Sector to steal Moonflowers to make the only medicine that will keep the deadly illness at bay. In the Wilds there is never enough medicine or coins to go around but she and Wes, a fellow outlaw, do what they can. In the palace, Prince Corrick does what he can to keep his brother, the king, safe and barter for enough moonflowers. But being the King’s Justice is a bloody and endless job and it seems even his best efforts may not be enough to prevent a rebellion. Continue reading

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