"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lists! 'Tis the Season

Now that it is December  Best books of the Year lists are starting to show up. I shall attempt to keep a list for you here of as many as I find them. As per usual, my focus shall be on Young Adults but many of these lists are attached to best adult list. All you need to do is trail back on the lists I link.

1. Publisher's Weekly- Best Children's and Young Adult books.
     The list is divided into Picture Books, Middle Grades, and Young Adults. There are 16 YA books identified, only two are nonfiction.

2. School Library Journal. Best Books of 2017.
     Lots of books are listed, they are divided among five categories: Picture books; Chapter books; Middle Grade books; Young Adult books; Nonfiction books.  Eighteen YA titles were listed.

3. National Book Award.
     Young People's Literature division winner: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway.

4. Kirkus Review.
    Broken Down into categories. Long.
5. Audible (Audiobooks). Best YA audiobooks of the year.
     Coming soon

6. New York Times 100 Notable books of 2017. 
     Published Nov. 22, 2017. I don't see any YA titles on here, but I may have missed something.

7. The Washington Post.
    There are several other links to other book lists, though they have a few YA nonfiction selections, no YA fiction made even the Children's list.
8. Best of 2017 Goodreads. Vote now on final round nominees in many categories.

9. 2018 Morris Award finalists.
(Debut YA author) five books on this short list. Award will be selected in Feb. 2018.

10. 2018 YALSA Nonfiction finalists.

11. Horn Book Fanfare. 
     Coming mid December

12. NPR Best Books of 2017. 
     There are 20 YA titles on this list but over 300 titles mentioned in all categories.

13. New York Times Notable Children's Books
Seven YA books in addition to several children's and middle grade books.

14. Chicago Public Library---Best Books of 2017.
     Click the link to view the different categories. The teen fiction list contains all the usual suspects and a few surprises.

15. Newsday. Ten best adult books of 2017.

16. 47 Best Books of the Year, compiled by Books Are My Favourite and Best

17. Pierce County Library. (My county in Western Washington) Twelve favorite books by category voted on my library users.

This list will be updated as more Best of lists are published.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Three nonfiction reviews about girls, by girls!

My Cybils reading has taken a bit of a backseat to the rest of my life lately, so I thought I would pause, take a breath, and let you know about three books I am really excited about. Three books about girls by girls. I am inspired and I hope teen readers out there will be, too.

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser
      Andrea and Sophie meet while they are attending a summer camp for girls on how to create computer code. The girls decide to work on their final project together---to create a web-based game. As the girls talk about their interests and hopes for their projects they realized they had similar ideals. They wanted to create a game that would make a difference for girls around the world. They decided, after gaining permission from their program director, to create a game called Tampon Run. As offensive as that sounds, they decided that girls around the world were often not allowed to do things, like go to school, because of taboos around menstruation. The game is not only fun to play, it is educational, as well. Even after graduation from their program the girls continued to work on the game. After its launch the game went viral and the girls were thrown into the spotlight even though they were both high school students who still needed to fulfill their class requirements. Both girls are now in college and wrote the book in alternating chapters about the challenges of being a girl in a male-dominated field.
      I loved this book. It was so real. Girls wanting to make a difference and being willing to break into a field, computer coding, dominated by males. The end of the book even has some basic coding suggestions for girls to use to get started coding themselves. As I read it I couldn't help but think about the AP Computer Programming class at my old school. The class was taught by a male teacher and was dominated by male students. I think the teacher should consider using this book to inspire his students, mainly the girls, to continue in the field.
     (Harper Collins eBook, 2017, checked out remotely from Overdrive)

Earth Hates Me: True Confessions From a Teenage Girl by Ruby Karp
     Ruby Karp is a sixteen-year-old is a comedian, performing at the UCB Theater in New York, an author, writing for Hello Giggles, and a high school student. Earth Hates Me is her first book. It is a combination of memoir and self-help book for teen girls. Ruby has a great sense of humor and this book reflects it.
Ruby advises her peers on the importance of feminism ("not just the Spice Girls version"), how to deal with jealousy and friend break-ups, family life, and much more. The book takes an in-depth look at the effect of social media on modern teens and the growing pressures of choosing the right college and career. Amy Poehler says, "This book is filled with juicy young person wisdom."  With Ruby's powerful underlying message "we are more than just a bunch of dumb teenagers obsessed with our phones," Earth Hates Me is the definitive guide to being a teen in the modern age (GoodReads).
     Even though I am not a teenager, I enjoyed this book immensely. Karp speaks authentically to teenagers and her humor helps the advice she offers to not come across with a heavy-hand or a preachy-voice. I hope that all high school librarians reading this post add this book to their next book order!
     (Running Press eBook, 2017, checked out from Overdrive)

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
     When Sandra was ten-years-old she had a gun held to her head when the refugee camp where she and her family lived was invaded by local terrorists. These men had already killed her younger sister and wounded her mother. Somehow she escaped and was reunited with remnants of her family. Eventually Sandra and her family were granted visas to move to the Untied States as war refugees. Once here she met with new types of problems--- poverty, racism, language, and lack of community. The death of her sister haunted Sandra, also, and she wanted to do something to help refugees around the world and especially in her beloved home country of The Democratic Republic of Congo. With the help from her college and her church Sandra found her voice and became a potent advocate for refugees, even making presentations for the U.N. and the PressCorps where she met Michelle Obama.
     This book is quite different than the other two I highlighted above. It is very inspiring, but also tremendously depressing to read about all the hate in the world and to learn about how it affects children. But I do encourage folks to read it, if for no other reason that to find how one person can make a difference if that person is willing to speak out!
     (Katherine Tegen Books eBook, 2017, checked out from Overdrive)

I am not sure if any of these titles will pass out of Round 1 judging for the Cybils Award but I do encourage you to read all of them. It warms my heart to read three wonderful and empowering books written about girls, by girls.

My last year for two reading challenges

It breaks my heart to say it, but I will not be participating in two reading challenges next year which were a big deal for me in the past:

  • Printz Project: To read all the Printz Award and Honor books. When I became a high school librarian in 2005 I discovered the wonderful oeuvre of YA literature with the Printz winners leading the way. I decided to read all the yearly winners and attempt to read all the books I had missed from previous years. I became rather obsessed with the Printz Award even starting a Mock Printz Project at my school and in my district. I did a good, but not great, job of fulfilling this challenge. Of the 85 Printz Award and Honor books since the year 2000, I read 68 of the titles (80%). Now that I am retired I am ready to focus my reading on more adult titles and don't want to feel the pressure to read YA titles that don't interest me as much any more. Interestingly, I got started on this challenge by joining the Printz Project at WordPress. I haven't visited their website for a while. It appears that it is no longer functioning, as the last book highlighted is from the Printz winner from 2016 (a year ago.) I guess it is a sign for me to end the challenge now, as well.

  • Read all the ALA YA Youth Media Award books challenge. I was the host of this award and obviously loved it. Every year the American Library Association and YALSA announces a slew of book awards at the end of their mid-winter conference. Many of the awards go to books targeted at teens, and those were the books I highlighted for this challenge. Every year the actual number of books varied depending on if the award was given to a YA or a MG book. Possible awards included:
  1. Printz Award (Best YA title of the year)
  2. Morris Award (Best YA Debut author)
  3. Schneider Family Book Award (Teen living with a disability)
  4. Alex Award (Adult books which have crossover appeal for teens, 10 are selected each year)
  5. Stonewall Book Award (LGBT-themed)
  6. Margaret A. Edwards Author Award (Contributions made to YA or Children's literature)
  7. YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
  8. Coretta Scott King Author Award (African American Author writing for teens or  children)
  9. *Coretta Scott King Steptoe Award (Debut African American author)
  10. *Sibert Informational Book Award (Children or teen books, nonfiction)
  11. *Laura Ingalls Wilder (Author Award)
  12. Odyssey Award (Best audiobook for children or teens)
  13. *Batchelder Award (Best children's/teen title translated into English)
  14. Pura Belpre Award (Latino author)
  15. *Newbery Medal (Best in children's literature)
  16. *Caldecott Medal (Best Illustrated Children's Picture book)
* titles not usually included in this challenge because the books are usually geared toward children not teens.

I will always keep my eyes on the YMA Awards, but no longer want to feel pressure to read 10-16 titles now that I am no longer in a position to make reading recommendations. Sigh. It makes me sad to say goodbye.

Reading challenges which I will continue:
  • Classics Club...reading off a list of classics titles which I created.
  • Pulitzer Challenge...reading the current Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction each year and attempting to read a few titles from previous years. This award goes all the way back to the early 1900s so I will not attempt to read all previous winners. On my list are 15 titles which I still want to read.
  • Other challenges which interest me hosted by others throughout the year like Austen in August, Big Book Summer Challenge, etc.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Quotes: December 8th

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest, or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading. This is the book I'm reading right now---

Title: The 57 Bus: a True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

Book Beginnings:
By four-thirty in the afternoon, the first mad rush of after-school passengers has come and gone. That's left are stragglers and stay-laters, swiping their bus passes as they climb onto the 57 bus and take seats among the coming-home workers, the shoppers, and errand-doers, the other students from high schools and middle schools around the city.
Friday 56:
'To me gender fluid means I have the potential to be anything, any gender at any time,' Nemo explained. 'I can be male, female, masculine, feminine, neither, both.' Like Sasha, Nemo uses they/them pronouns.
Comments: I just started this book, a nonfiction title, today so I haven't gotten far and don't have a feel for it yet, but I know that it is getting a lot of attention in the literary world, making it onto lots of best books of the year lists. It was just named to the YALSA Nonfiction Book Award short list with only four other YA nonfiction titles receiving that honor. The blurb in the book jacket says, "This true story, first chronicled in the New York Times Magazine by Slater and artfully, compassionately, and expertly expanded upon here, is a riveting exploration of race, class, gender, identity, morality, and forgiveness. The Bus 57 will inspire you to rethink all you know about crime, punishment, and empathy."

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Taking a blogging hiatus

Photo Credit: NBC NewYork
I will be taking a short hiatus from blogging for a week. I hope to be back here by December 10th.

Never fear. I am taking a break from blogging to take a break (vacation) to New York City. Rockefeller Center, Rockettes, Broadway, and museums here I come.

See you in a week!

Review: Uprooted: The Japanese-American Experience During World War II

Last year marked the 75th year since the bombing of Pearl Harbor which catapulted America into the Second World War. Our efforts in that war were marked by bravery and sacrifice both in the Pacific theater and in Europe. However, at home less than honorable things were happening. The government, by order of President Roosevelt, rounded up over 100,000 Japanese-Americans and essentially imprisoned them in internment camps, not too far from what the Germans did with their prisoners who were place in concentration camps.

The year was 1941. The Japanese had just attacked Pearl Harbor and killed over 2400 people, while sinking or damaging a good portion of the Pacific fleet. People at home were understandably angry and scared. With pressure from others, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to evacuate and detain persons of Japanese descent living on the West Coast of the United States. Japanese-Americans, many of them who were born in the USA, were given very little notice to vacate their homes, were moved into holding facilities, and finally relocated to quickly erected camps in various locations around the country. Behind barbed wire and guarded day and night, Japanese-Americans were treated like they were the ones who attacked Pearl Harbor, like the U.S.A. was at war with them. To make this all the more galling, no similar camps were set up to imprison German or Italian-Americans even though we were clearly at war with them, too.

In Uprooted: The Japanese-American Experience During World War II author Albert Marrin takes a close look at the racism in America that led to the internment of its citizens and back-fills the events with historical events that led to that fateful decision. He also allows to reader to get up close and personal with life within the internment camps and introduces us to many of the prisoners in a personal way.

Even though I was on vacation in China I was determined to keep up with my readings for Cybils judging. As we traveled from Beijing to Xi'an via a bullet train, I settled in with my Kindle to read Uprooted. I expected to only learn a few things about Japanese history and then onto the American story, but I was surprised to find myself reading about Chinese history in the opening chapters of the book. Apparently Japanese history is very tangled up with its neighbor to the west, China. As I was rocketing past the Chinese landscape at 300 km/hr I learned about how WWII started in China in 1931 when Japan invaded Manchuria in Northeast China and eventually drove further south and west attempting to capture the whole country and all its resources.  This long involvement in China is what ultimately led to Japan invading us at Pearl Harbor. Their commanders thought that involving the USA in a war would allow them to get the fuel they needed to prevail in China! How fascinating to be reading about this while I was in China! When I mentioned some of what I had learned to our guide the next day, he was quite impressed that I was so interested in their history.

Though we weren't at war with China, many Chinese-Americans felt the racism directed at them after Pearl Harbor, too. It really was not our best moment as a country and our ugly racism surely showed itself for what it was.  After the war ended, those who were interned were just released. No reparations were made for the businesses and homes they lost during the internment years. Many had to return to communities where they were met with the continual ugliness of racism. Not until 1988 did the government officially apologize to the 100,000 Japanese-Americans who were treated so unfairly. They also received a small monetary compensation of $20,000 each, which barely touches all they lost.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I like this book. It is superbly written and researched. The photos added to an understanding of how much devastation was done to a race of people even though they were American citizens. I highly recommend it to all readers, not just to the target young adult audience. May this book serve as a reminder that we will never again do such a dreadful thing to our own citizens.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Book That Made Me: a Collection of 32 Personal Stories

The Book That Made Me: a Collection of 32 Personal Stories edited by Judith Ridge is my kind of book. So when I saw it on the list of nominated titles for the Cybils, I jumped at the chance to read it.

32 authors and illustrators each wrote an essay for this collection highlighting a book, or several books, that came along sometime during their formative years and really spoke to them or changed things for them, possibly starting them on the path that led to writing.  The power of the written word--- it never ceases to amaze me how it changes lives!

Below are a few of my highlights from a book fulling of reading/bookish highlights...

Randa Abdel-Fattah was born in Australia but is of Muslim-Palestinian Egyptian heritage. As a young girl she loved books but always found herself reading books about girls who looked nothing like herself. "And then I read Melina Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi...I read it in one sitting. And then I read it again. And again. Something inside me changed." For first time in her life she found a character who didn't "fetishize" a migrant's upbringing. She identified with the character's world and challenges. "I couldn't believe that I'd opened a young adult book that spoke to my life. It was wildly empowering and gratifying."
There are books you read that make you hold your breath. It's only when you get to the end that you realize you need to come up for air. In fact, the origins of the word inspiration stem from the act of inhaling. There is something sensuous and visceral in the experience of being inspired. It felt it with Looking for Alibrandi (7).
Mandy Hager is a young adult New Zealand author who found her voice for activism when she read Nineteen Eight- Four by Orwell.
One of the characters in  Nineteen Eight- Four says: 'Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.' I say, rebel and be conscious! Let's all have a damn good stab at proving him wrong and making sure his dystopia can be forgotten as we work to build a utopia instead! (35)
Bernard Beckett is a drama teacher and playwright from New Zealand. One day when he was in the car with his preschool-aged twin sons he popped an audiobook into the CD-player of George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl, read by June Whitefield. The audiobook delighted his sons and they giggled away in the back seat. "And that moment reminded me of something that I, as a writer, should never have needed reminding of. That storytelling in its purest form---some words, a voice---is compelling in a way that no other medium can be" (55).
Who was it who said that 'literature in the only art form in which the audience provided the score'? I don't remember, and Google is being unhelpful. Never mind, the point is an important one. When we read a story, or indeed listen to one, the only way to comprehend it is to fully engage with it. The words must become alive in our heads... We own the story because we are, to such a large extent, creating it (56).
Ambelin Kwaymullina is a native Aboriginal person from Australia. She believes in the power of storytelling to pass on important information and traditions.
I want everyone who will come after me to inherit an earth bursting with diversity...and I know that the future is a story to which we all contribute. So look. Look ahead. Dreams matter. Every story matters, and we all have the power to influence the future (67-8).
Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person from Australia and a playwright. He identified The Power of One by Bryce Courtney as a book which helped him see racism for what it is and helped him on his professional path as a writer hoping to highlight injustices around the world. I honed in on this example because I, too, was deeply touched by The Power of One.

Shaun Tan is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. His drawings are distributed throughout this book. Each illustration captures one of the aspect of why he loves books so much. Below is just one of those as an example.

This book, which was first published in Australia in 2016 is a treasure, for sure. One criticism is that none of the highlighted authors are from North America. Though each of the 32 highlighted authors have important messages about the power of books to change lives, I wonder, as a librarian in the USA, how my students will relate to it, if they aren't familiar with the authors themselves.

Monday, November 27, 2017

TTT: Books On My Winter TBR Pile

Top Ten Tuesday: 
Titles I hope to read this winter...and an update on how I did on my similar list for Fall.

1. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. This is my Classic Club Spin book. I need to have it finished by December 31st.

2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. A book club selection. This one I need to have read by our meeting in February. Can you believe I haven't read this book, yet?

3-5. American Street by Ibi Zoboi; Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham; and Release by Patrick Ness. These are the last three books on the Bethel SD Mock Printz list that I haven't read yet. I have until Feb. 7th to finish all three.

6. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. This is a book club selection for March.

7. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. This is the National Book Award winning title this year for Young People's Literature. I've heard wonderful things about it.

8. The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iture, because, um, isn't it obvious?

9-10. The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church; and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.
These are two titles I will be suggesting we read in my other book club. I've heard so much about The Atomic Weight of Love, and Sing, Unburied, Sing is the National Book Award winner for fiction. If selected I may have to read one of these titles by the end of January.

Update: How did I do on TBR list from the Fall?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Salon... Thankful edition

Daniel, my son-in-law, with Ian. Photo credit: D. Bennett
Today I am thankful for:
Autzen Stadium, Nov. 25, 2017. Note the sky! Photo credit: D. Bennett
Weather: I may not like it, but I am grateful for the rain as we had a very dry summer and we need the rain to fill up our reservoirs and nourish the plants.
My parents, great-grandparents to Ian. Photo credit: D. Bennett
My parents: 88 and 89 years-old they are both plugging along. They were like the king and queen of the huge family gathering we had this weekend. Bet they will spend a days sleeping-in after we all cleared out today.
Thomas, the turkey chef. Photo credit: D. Bennett
Thanksgiving gatherings: this year my sister and her husband, Kathy and Tom, hosted the meal at their home. It is a lot of work to pull off a successful meal for fifteen people and they did it in a wonderfully warm setting with delicious food, too.
Nephew, Andrew and brother, Tony. Photo credit: A. Parr
My brother: His cancer, melanoma, is in remission and he seems to be doing so well. I am so grateful for the doctors who are treating him and for my sister-in-law, Becky, for her loving care for him over this past year while he received seriously difficult treatments.
Rachel after she found her wedding dress. Photo credit: K. Kingsbury
My niece: Rachel and Michael got engaged recently and this weekend we had a shower for her and were included in an event at a bridal shop where she tried on lots of gowns and actually said yes to a dress! What fun.
Ian with quite the hairdo! With Grand-aunt Becky in background. Photo Credit: K. Powers
Ian: our little grandson met his great-grandparents, his great aunt and uncle, and several second cousins this weekend. He was the star of the weekend.

Me (dark hair) and my siblings, July, 2017. Photo credit: G. Ruddy
Siblings and nephew: My brother, sisters, and I bought a dishwasher for our parents during the Black Friday sales. My brother and his son, Andrew, put in a new support handle in the bathroom to assist my father, (it doubles as a towel bar.) My husband put in some suction cup handles in the shower. Now we hope he will feel a bit more secure in the bathroom.
Bobby, my niece's husband, reading. Photo credit: A. Parr
Daniel and Bobby: My son-in-law and my nieces husband are such good guys and have integrated into the family so well. Dan engaged Dad and had him tell his old stories about his own father's adventures building the Panama Canal and exploring the Amazon river. Bobby is so helpful and friendly.
Rita and Ian, Nov. 25, 2017. Photo credit: D. Bennett
Carly and her friend Kelsey horsing around before Thanksgiving. Carly spent Thanksgiving with Kelsey's family.

My daughters: Rita, mother of Ian, is such a friendly, happy person and such a sweet mother. I heard her talking to my sister this morning and I felt so proud of the woman she has become. Carly spent Thanksgiving with a friend in Pennsylvania. I know she missed being with her family but she was in a good place with a family who also likes to play games. So that was good. She will be home December 15th for a month, but first she gets to host me and her aunt Kathy in New York.

Don and I at the game. Photo credit: D. Bennett
Football: I admit it---I love Duck football. Yesterday was the Civil War game vs. Oregon State. My mom bought tickets for ten of us to go to the game. Fun.
Bridal shower with the bride-to-be's mother, grandmother, three aunts, two cousins, mother-and sister
-in-law-to-be, and one friend. 

Prayers for:
  • Rocky---recovering from his surgery on his elbow tendon.
  • Andrew---for his job situation
  • Tony---for relief from neuropathy in his feet and legs. 
  • Locked Up for Freedom: Civil Rights Protesters at the Leesburg Stockade by Heather Schwartz. Read as part of the Cybils judging. Completed. Print.
  • La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust #1) by Philip Pullman. The prequel to the Golden Compass series. Loved it. Completed. Print.
  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. A bit of magical realism set in the Colorado desert. 78% complete. Audio.
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Funny. 83% complete. Audio.
This video: Christmas season is upon us. The first Christmas video of the season from me to you.

You: I am thankful for all my readers. Thanks for spending a bit of time with my blog and be sure to leave me a note in the comment section. I'm thankful for comments, too.

Monday, November 20, 2017

TTT: Books I am Thankful for

Top Ten Tuesday: My gratefulness extends to books this week. Here is a list of books I am thankful for:

1. The Bible. I thought I'd get that out of the way "in the beginning" (yes, that is a pun!) This book is a life-changer.

2. Pride and Prejudice. I know. Everyone loves this book (and movie) but honestly this book and all of Austen's novels have really helped me as a reader...to not be afraid of reading classics; to ;understand that there is a good feeling of accomplishment when one finishes a challenging book; and recognizing that it is OK to love a book and reread it when I need  it.

3. Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden. When I discovered the Ten Poems series by Housden suddenly poetry was revealed to me. In his books Housden highlights ten poems and explains aspects in each against modern life. I read and reread these books for inspiration and I am no longer afraid to read poetry, in fact I crave it.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird. No book speaks to me more about being ethical as a person as TKAM. Atticus Finch is not only a good lawyer but an excellent parent, someone I try to emulate in my life. Plus, I love Scout and Jem.

5. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Edition. Bet you weren't expecting this, huh? I consult my bird book often as I sit and look out at the backyard when birds visit it. I love identifying a bird I haven't seen before.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved this series as a child. I read them to my children when they were little. We read them together after they grew up. I am grateful for all the positive moments spent with these books.

7. The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever. My mother read this book to us when my sibs and I were kids (actually the book was just a short story from a magazine at that time) and I have read it aloud for my family every Christmas since I had a family. I am grateful for special moments spent with family and special books.

8. Looking for Alaska. Before I became a teen librarian I hadn't been reading YA lit as a practice. I remember my first year of torturous book talks since I basically had no books to talk about. Then I read LFA by John Green. I was blown away by it and realized that YA lit had a lot to offer. The book also won the Printz Award that year, so I became aware of other fantastic books through that gateway.

9.  Cold Sassy Tree. If you have read my blog for years, you will notice that I list this book often because it is the book which brought me back to reading. I read a lot as a child and a young teen then basically abandoned reading (except books for classes) until I was around 30. Then I read this book. It blew me away and whet my appetite for reading good books.

10. The Book of Dust: La Belle of Sauvage, or my current read. This book represents my gratefulness for the book I am currently reading. There are so many great books and when I start a new one, I am always grateful for authors who think up the stories and write them down,  for publishers who make them available for readers, and for libraries where I can get them for free.

What books are you grateful for?