Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some goodies from Down Under...

Let's begin our quest for excellent international Youth Literature in... Australia.

Here are the newly awarded winners of the 2010 Australian Aurealis Awards:

Children's Fiction: The Keepers by Lian Tanner (in America this book is called Museum of Thieves)

Children's Fiction, Illustrated: The Boy and the Toy, written by Sonya Hartnett and illustrated by Lucia Masciullo

Young Adult NovelGuardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

I haven't read any of these titles yet but they are on my TO-READ bookshelf in Goodreads!

Here is my suggestion for an Australian picture book to read this summer:

Diary of a Wombat Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is it legal to have a pet Wombat in America??... because I WANT ONE!!! This book is sooo cute!! A must read for any classroom that is learning about Australian animals!

View all my reviews

...AND it has a SEQUEL!!  I am putting Jackie French's Diary of a Baby Wombat on hold at my library right now!

<3 <3 <3 Love me some wombats!

The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln

I know I said I would be posting International Books- and I will.  But first- you HAVE to read this one!

The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln (Picture Puffin Books (Paperback))The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln (Picture Puffin Books by Mike Reiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mike Reiss, a writer for the show The Simpsons, and famous Children's Book Illustrator, David Catrow, team up to create a hilarious book about self-esteem, identity, self-acceptance. In The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln, young Benjy looks a LOT like the late president, which really gets him down. That is, until his parents send him to Camp What-Cha-Ma-Call-It and he discovers he isn't alone in this world. This is a great story about embracing what makes you special and it is also so funny that you will have to read it outside of the library (otherwise you will laugh too loud!).

Interest Level: 2nd-5th
Reading Level: 1st-3rd

View all my reviews

Some Summer Stuff...

I decided that one of the best ways to serve you would be to review advanced copies of children's and young adult literature- and keep you "in the know" of what's going on in the world of Youth Literature.  So...I sent some letters off to renowned publishing houses in hopes that they will consider me to review new titles.  Keep your fingers crossed!

In the meantime...Summer Reading programs will soon be kicking off all across America.  I currently work in a Public Library System and this year's theme is One World Many Stories.

So...This week I will be focusing on international literature.  This can be books written by non-American authors or stories that open our eyes to new cultures and traditions.  Keep checking back all summer long for suggestions for summer reading! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spread the Word and Tell Me What You Want to See!

As this blog evolves I want to hear from my readers!  Tell me what your Information needs are and how I can help to serve them.  Do you want to see more book reviews?  Ideas to help your children enjoy reading?  Lesson plan ideas?  Research assistance?  Please post comments to let me know what you think and what you'd like to gain from this blog.  Thanks for stopping by!

J.F. Sanborn, Librarian

As I make my way through the SSYRAs...

Dying to Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery RoadDying to Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

43 Old Cemetery Road Series: Dying to Meet You by the Klise Sisters; 2011-2012 Sunshine State Young Reader Award Winner; Interest and Reading Level: 3rd-5th grade.

    Written as a series of correspondences, and newspaper articles, Dying to Meet You is a Ghost Story like none you have ever read before!  The Klise Sisters' style reminds me of the successful partnership of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.  Like Dahl's works, this story tells of a remarkable child born to terrible parents.  Young Seymour Hope is a talented 11-yr old artist who is the son of Les and Diane Hope, inept Paranormal Scientists (as well as inept parents!).  His home, a rickety old Victorian in which he has been abandoned for the summer, is being rented out by hateful, has-been author, Ignatius B. Grumply.  The former owner of the home, the deceased, yet lovely Olive C. Spence also lives in the home, and is Seymour's best friend.  Grumply hates children and people in general.  Olive and Seymour dislike strangers being in their home.  Grumply has a novel to write and a deadline to meet.  Olive and Seymour have their own agenda.

    This is a very quick, yet enjoyable, read.  I would recommend this to ANY elementary school student.  Younger, more advanced readers will enjoy the story as will older, hesitant readers. The pace of the story is like that of a graphic novel.  Readers will not be bogged down in text- but will still experience a very full story with excellent vocabulary to learn.  Being the first of three installments (so far), this series will keep readers excited to continue reading.  I highly recommend!!!

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunshine State Young Readers Award 2011-2012

The Sunshine State Young Readers Award Winners for 2011-2012 have been posted and so far I have only read The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell and The Magic Half by Annie Barrows.  I loved them both but it seems I have some reading to do!

The Secret of ZoomThe Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has made it to the 2011-2012 Sunshine State Young Readers Award List. I read it last year and really enjoyed it. This is an excellent tale of children finding their power and their voices. In its all too real depiction of a world in which not every adult has the best interests of children in mind, The Secret of Zoom is a fantasy story about hope, friendship, family, and a secret to be unearthed. This book will be appealing to both boys and girls- kids who like science, mystery, music, and adventure. There are secret tunnels and caves, a big old house, scientists, a lonely girl and many, many orphans. If you want to know more- you will have to read it!

View all my reviews The Magic HalfThe Magic Half by Annie Barrows
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While books about time-travel can often give me paradoxical headaches, I LOVED Annie Barrows, The Magic Half. This is a tale of destiny, family, and how your true path will find you know matter how far from the road you may be. This book is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award List for 2011-2012 so I am NOT giving away anymore details.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mythopoeic Awards 2011

The 2011 Mythopoeic Award finalists were announced on May 17th.  

According to their website:

"The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature is given to the fantasy novel, multi-volume, or single-author story collection for adults published during 2010 that best exemplifies the spirit of the Inklings." 

"The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature honors books for younger 
readers (from Young Adults to picture books for beginning readers), in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia."

What is an Inkling?  Authors such as J. R. R. TolkienC. S. Lewis, and others met for a literary discussion group that focused on Fantasy writing.  The Mythopoeic Awards honor both adult and children's books that are written in this genre.  

"The winners of this year’s awards will be announced during Mythcon XLII, to be held from July 15-18, in Albuquerque, New Mexico."

Good Luck Catherine Fisher!  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Umbrella Academy by My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse SuiteThe Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Umbrella Academy Volume 1: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

I may have to reserve judgment on this series until I have read a few, but my first reaction is - eh, it's okay. There is a great need for background information to help readers understand the characters and the plot.  I didn't feel a draw to any of the characters, except maybe Pogo.  I am not giving up on the series just yet but this first one didn't overly impress me.  However, these books are written by the famous rock-star Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance so I am sure they will be popular.  I hope they get better as they go along.

Premise: Seven children born under mysterious circumstances are adopted and raised by a wealthy eccentric who exploits their powers and neglects to give them love.   The now grown-up seven are reunited after years in the world apart because their "father" has died.  Jealousy, ego, and misunderstandings all lead to actions which may or may not lead to the end of the world.

Interest Level: Adult

View all my reviews


Whenever a blockbuster movie comes out that has ties to mythology and literature, it is the job of a Librarian to use that to her favor.  Regardless whether you are an elementary, secondary or public Librarian- THOR can find his way onto your displays.

In the case of School Librarians- what an excellent time to expose students to Norse Mythology!  You could do a short lesson on the different Norse Gods and Goddesses and how some of our weekdays are named after them.  You could read a story from Norse legend.  This would also make an excellent time to teach students about Vikings.

Below are a few titles you may want to feature on displays while THOR is in theatres...

 Thor, Vol. 1 (Adult Graphic Novel Series)

Essential Thor, Vol. 1 (Adult Graphic Novel Series)

Thor: Son of Asgard (TEEN Graphic Novel Series)

Marvel Adventures Avengers: Thor  (Adult Graphic Novel Series)

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (Children's Fiction)

The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God by Lise Lunge-Larsen (Children's Fiction)

Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville (Children's Fiction)

Thor and Loki: In the Land of Giants (Children's Graphic Novel)

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (Children's Fiction)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thank you to Library Supporters!

Today I had the wonderful experience of talking to teachers and principals in a nearby county.  The overwhelming support they expressed for school libraries and school librarians was a much welcome change from the lay-offs and budget cuts of their neighboring county.  My hope is to help spread that enthusiasm and philosophy on library service so that all districts in this nation will understand that the school library should be the hub of learning and information in every school. 

As a former student of AASL President Dr. Nancy Everhart of Florida State University's College of Communication and Information, I have learned that no one can better educate this nation about the importance of librarians than librarians.  School Librarians are a vital resource for both students and teachers to access the information they need and learn the information literacy skills required to be an educated citizen in a democratic society. 

We also must express the importance of our public libraries.  Public librarians are not only stewards of information but they act as a necessary link for citizens to their community.  Activist and artist, Wendy McNaughton has captured the essence of public librarianship and the value of public libraries in her piece entitled, Meanwhile at the San Francisco Public Library

If you love your public library- tell your lawmakers.  If you understand the importance of your school library, express that appreciation to your Superintendent.  Libraries will always be needed- no matter what format information has been transformed into.  There will always be the need for someone to organize, distribute, and promote information in our community.  Please let your voice be heard in support of your library! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

And Now for Some Teen Stuff...

Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy (digest)Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughn

Reviewed by J.F. Sanborn

Having read the entire Y: The Last Man series, I was naturally curious as to how well Brian K. Vaughn could tackle Young Adult Graphic Novels. Runaways: Pride and Joy is a fast-moving, quasi-super-hero story that speaks to teenagers while maintaining an interest level that adults can enjoy. However, I would argue that the story moves so fast that character and plot development suffer for it. I look forward to reading more in the series in hopes that some depth and enlightenment will unfold. That being said, a story of six teenagers on a crusade against their supervillain parents is simply genius and will, by pure human nature, attract teenage readers.

Interest Level: 11-17

Reading Level: 9 and up, but definitely teen in its content.

View all my reviews

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! by Mo Willems
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! by Mo Willems
Review by J.F. Sanborn

Hooray for Mo Willems in yet another wonderful story! This is the tale of two best friends- Amanda and her toy Alligator.  Alligator doesn't like it when Amanda leaves the house without him, as he demands a lot of her attention.  Amanda loves her Alligator but is a very independent child.  Throw in a third friend and some jealousy and you have yourself a great new Willems book! My 6 year old and I read this using the "you read a page, I read a page" technique and had a fabulous time.  Alligator's expressions and Amanda's taste in reading material will have you laughing out loud!  Willems divides the book up into sections which will make young readers feel as if they have accomplished a whole lot of reading.  Look for more books about these characters as I suspect this will be a series!  Interest Age: 3-8  Reading Level Age: 5-8

View all my reviews


Welcome to Medicine for the Soul, a blog for people who are interested in books, libraries, literacy, etc.  My name is J.F. Sanborn and I am a Children's Librarian/ School Librarian with a Masters in Library and Information Science from Florida State University.  I am new to blogging so I am willing to let this blog evolve into what it needs to be.  For now, I will be sharing ideas, reviews, articles, and experiences from the Library world.  I hope you enjoy stopping by and look forward to reading your comments.