Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Great Writing Prompts

A couple of great writing prompts for NaNoWriMo:

The second one reminds me of the Halloween episode of Bob's Burgers:

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Destiny Harper works selling corn dogs at the mall, and isn't really sure what to do with her life after high school. She knows she's good with kids, so when she finds an ad for a governess at The Nightmare Nursery, she decides to apply for the job. It turns out that The Nightmare Nursery is in Gloomvania, a place where monsters live and mortals are rare.

Vampire babies are everywhere, and Destiny must take care of them and other monster babies. Vamplets follows her as she makes friends, enemies, and discovers more about the hidden secrets of Gloomvania. The purple tones of the coloring add a layer of mystery to the story, which would be a great read for Halloween. The settings are very interesting to look at, and you'll probably spend quite some time looking over all the details in the pages. One setting even reminds me a little bit of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. I've loved these graphic novels so much, I'm even considering purchasing these graphic novels for my own library. Spooky Reading!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ghost Hunting

One of the things we've been working on at the library is creating programs where we use the library's tablets. For the teens, I knew that they probably know more about tablets and smartphones than me, so I wanted to try something that would be fun and entertaining. When one of my coworkers was talking about ghosts and ghost hunters, I thought - that's it! There's so many apps now, and there are so many ghost hunting and ghost detector apps to choose from.

Two apps were downloaded to each tablet: Ghost Observer and Ghost Radar. Ghost Observer allows you to view everything in a sort of grayscale and every so often a shape will appear and the voice will tell you a ghost has been detected. Ghost Radar looks similar to what you might imagine when you think of sonar images. 

I also wanted to download Ghost Sensor because it looks so much like the EMF meter Dean and Sam use on Supernatural, but it was not available on Android. 

The program took place after hours, so there was an extra layer of spookiness because everyone was gone and the library was empty except for the teens and two staff members. One of my coworkers had suggested she come in and make rattling noises and run around and spook the teens, which would have been tons of fun but she was not working that day. 

While the teens waited and ate Halloween cupcakes and cookies, I hid some ghost plushes around the library. Then they split up the tablets and went off using Ghost Observer. If they found a ghost plush they could keep it. After traveling around the library, we returned downstairs and tried Ghost Radar. We had some time at the end, so I'd planned a candy corn toss game where they tried to get candy corn into small cauldrons for a chance to take home some other Halloween prizes. 

This would also be a really fun activity with younger children since the apps are not too scary. My favorite moment of the night - when a teen looked at Ghost Radar and followed the red blob on the screen and paused before he said, "Wait...there's one on me!" 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Your Lie in April


Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) is a Japanese manga created by Naoshi Arakawa. It became an anime in 2014 and this past September was released as a film in Japan. The plot centers around piano prodigy Kōsei Arima who, after his strict mother's death, lost his ability to hear notes and no longer plays the piano. He meets violinist Kaori Miyazono through mutual friends, and she slowly begins to bring Kōsei back to the world of music. This series is both visually stunning and heartbreakingly beautiful. There are some dark moments, and some very sad moments. Prepare to cry. Your Lie in April is available for viewing on Crunchyroll and on Netflix. 

If you've already discovered this beautiful manga and anime and are looking for something else to read and/or watch, I recommend A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ōima, which was also released as an animated film this past September; as well as My Neighbor Seki by Takuma Morishige, which was released as a home video animated film and a 21-episode tv series. 

A Silent Voice: "Shoya is a bully. When Shoko, a girl who can't hear, enters his elementary school class, she becomes his favorite target, and Shoya and his friends goad each other into devising new tortures for her. But the children's cruelty goes too far. Shoko is forced to leave the shcool, and Shoya ends up shouldering all the blame. Six years later, the two meet again. Can Shoya make up for his past mistakes, or ist it too late?"

My Neighbor Seki: "Toshinari Seki takes goofing off to new heights. Every day, on or around his school desk, he masterfully creates his own little worlds of wonder, often hidden to most of his classmates. Unfortunately for Rumi Yokoi, his neighbor at the back of their homeroom, his many games, dioramas, and projects are often way too interesting to ignore; even when they are hurting her grades."

Both of these mangas are similar to Your Lie in April in that they have a very quiet, gentle setting and are good for readers who love a good story but don't necessarily need a lot of action and fighting.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

I Know You, I Walked With You

Once Upon a Dream!

I've come across a few books in the past few months that have reminded me of actual events or of people or other books, and I wanted to post them up really quickly.

Enter Title Here
Rahul Kanakia
Young Adult

"I'm your protagonist-Reshma Kapoor-and if you have the free time to read this book, then you're probably nothing like me.

Reshma is a college counselor's dream. She's the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.

What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she'll finally have the key to Stanford.

But she's convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important than success-a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy.

Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can't always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she'll have to decide just how far she'll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It's pretty far.)

In this wholly unique, wickedly funny debut novel, Rahul Kanakia consciously uses the rules of storytelling-and then breaks them to pieces."

This book reminds me so much of the book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan, along with the course of events that led to the author having her novel published. Goodreads users once again have put it best:

Vivi Greene
Young Adult
After getting her heart shattered for the thousandth time, multiplatinum pop icon Lily Ross is escaping her high-profile, crazy life and heading to an island in middle-of-nowhere Maine with her best friends. She has three months to focus on herself, her music, her new album—anything but guys. This summer is going to be different.

This book's cover reminded me a lot of Taylor Swift, and the story focuses on a pop icon.

With Malice
Eileen Cook
Young Adult
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital, unable to remember the past six weeks, including the accident that killed her best friend, if it was, in fact, an accident.

The basic premise of this book reminds me a little bit of the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher, who was murdered in 2007 while studying in Italy as an exchange student from Italy.

The Couple Next Door
Shari Lapeña
"A dinner invitation from the couple next door changes the lives of Anne and Marco Conti. Neighbor Cynthia Stillwell asks the Contis not to bring their sometimes fussy six-month-old daughter, Cora, so when the babysitter cancels at the last minute, Marco comes up with an alternate plan. Since the Stillwell and Conti homes adjoin at a common wall, Marco suggests taking their baby monitor to dinner and checking on Cora in her crib every half hour, which works fine until after midnight. But when the Contis return home, tipsy from wine, their front door is open and Cora is gone. The couple is devastated..." Booklist Review

This book start reminds me so much of the case of Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in 2007. Her parents left Madeleine and her siblings asleep while they ate at a restaurant nearby, but on one occasion when they checked on them, Madeleine was gone.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

I love Raina Telgemeier's work.

There is a lot of discussion around this work, largely over the use of the Day of the Dead, but I can only speak based on my own experiences. This book brought back some of the fear and suspense I felt as a little girl in Mexico when, if you had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you had to go outside, and there were spirits out there and they could get you. The black cat in the story reminded me so much of my dad, who to this day will turn the car around instead of risk crossing the path of a black cat. My sisters and I might laugh when he does it, but if I come across a beautiful black cat, I will admit I try to find a way to not cross the path it had walked along. I have never been able to get the sense of magic anywhere else as I would at our blue house, or my grandmother's green house.

The librarian part of me considers this book - what if I had had this book when I was younger? I would have loved it the same, maybe more for being a graphic novel with a Hispanic character. Books are an escape for many children and young adults. When I was younger, that is why I read. I feel that part of Raina Telgemeier's goal was to provide a good story and include elements of a particular culture and I feel she did a good job. I don't think there is any form of disrespect or cultural appropriation.  People celebrate the Day of the Dead in different ways - some people choose to visit the cemeteries, the parades... others celebrate it quietly at home. Some people choose to go to church, some people have altars with marigolds, and some people use Mexican petunias or other beautiful flowers.

Some of the topics in this book - death, illness, the Day of the Dead, spirits and ghosts, losing a family member, moving to a new place - are scary enough by themselves. Raina Telgemeier makes them accessible to young readers in a safe and fun way.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel.