The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 9/10/12

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme!  I enjoy keeping track of my reading and sharing with others each week.  It was a very busy week for me with many work projects distracting and inspiring me. Nevertheless, I actually completed reading numerous book treasures!

What I read:


I Believe In Unicorns by Michael Morpugo, illustrated by Gary Blythe – Quick/easy novel: Wow, this was a powerful one for me. Quite a fast read and honestly, I want to listen to the audiobook of it- the author provides the reading. I loved the touch the librarian in the story has on the community and on individual children’s lives, how Michael Morpugo included magic with the reality of war, and he wrote a story about a young boy who hates going to church and school falls in love with storytelling and books. I would pair this book with The Librarian of Basra. I would suggest reading the book with any class from 3rd grade/Year 4 and up. Goodreads Summary: Eight-year-old Tomas hates reading. He would much rather be clambering around his beloved mountains. But when his mother forces him to visit the library, he can’t help but listen to the enchanting tales the librarian spins as she sits on a lifelike wooden unicorn. When war comes to their village, it is Tomas’s newfound love of books that helps save the library’s holdings from destruction. Set against a backdrop of encroaching war, I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS is an eloquent reminder of the power of storytelling to alter our lives.

Shadow of the Minotaur by Alan Gibbons – Fantasy/Science Fiction- I’ve heard that this author might be coming to Hong Kong to possibly visit school libraries- thought I’d better read one of his books! I’m excited because his books have been recommended for Percy Jackson fans and the book one a Blue Peter Book Award and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal… love getting exposure to award winning books. So far, it is a fascinating, engaging books with some golden lines! – So I finished this book and was quite impressed. I must read the rest of this series and any other book by Alan Gibbons that I can get my hands on… Fantastic interweaving of mythology, realistic fiction, and science fiction. I loved that I could quickly connect this book with Heir Apparent. Goodreads Summary: This is a novel about a boy, Phoenix, the son of a computer geek who creates a virtual reality game that gets a bit too real. Phoenix becomes Theseus pursued by the Minotaur, becomes Perseus and confronts the Gorgon, and goes down into the underworld.

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue, Clare Farrow, and Helen Cann – Historical Fiction – Interesting glimpse into the life of a boy growing up in Beijing, China in 1966. I appreciated the growth of the character and also the subtle points on pet keeping and animal’s right to freedom. Rich language and beautiful pictures additionally bring this story to life. Goodreads Summary: A sensitively written, semi-autobiographical story about a boy called Little Leap Forward, growing up in the hutongs of Beijing in the 1960’s, during the Cultural Revolution. Little Leap Forward offers children an intimate and immediate account of a child’s experiences as Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward policy tightens its grip on China. (Enjoyed the following movie which showed me many other books I should investigate, but it went quite fast. At least on the notes portion there are details!)

The Worry Website by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt – Realistic Fiction – Once in a while I enjoy reading short stories and this was a perfect book that had numerous short stories that wove through one another. I appreciated the creativity of the teacher to have a webpage that children could go and write their worries on– with the opportunity for others to comment and provide support and suggestions for solving the worries. I also loved the hidden worries that you don’t realize children might be suffering from when they enter your class. Very welcoming book and I think is approachable and quite entertaining. I loved each character… Goodreads Summary: Here are six wonderful short stories about the members of Mr. Speed’s primary school class where lots of the children have something to worry about. From a new stepmom, to coping with math, everyone has their own private concerns and it’s sometimes difficult to discuss them — even when you need advice. So Mr. Speed sets up the Worry Website on the classroom computer. Anybody in the class can anonymously enter their worry and anyone else can type in advice to help out. Also included is a prize-winning story by a 12-year-old fan who entered a competition to write a companion story to Jacqueline’ s.

Tomorrow Girls – Behind the Gates by Eva Gray – Science Fiction/Apocolypse – this is a book I read in one sitting. I was in the mood with it… it was interesting situation and plot. Sometimes I didn’t feel like the characters were developed enough, also, sometimes I felt like random names popped up but made sense eventually… Looking forward to reading other books in the series- warning, there is quite the cliffhanger at the end! Goodreads Summary: In a terrifying future world, four girls must depend on each other if they want to survive.Louisa is nervous about being sent away to a boarding school — but she’s excited, too. And she has her best friend, Maddie, to keep her company. The girls have to pretend to be twin sisters, which Louisa thinks just adds to the adventure. Country Manor School isn’t all excitement, though. Louisa isn’t sure how she feels about her new roommates: athletic but snobby Rosie and everything’s-a-conspiracy Evelyn. Even Maddie seems different away from home, quiet and worried all the time. Still, Louisa loves CMS — the survival skills classes, the fresh air. She doesn’t even miss not having a TV, or the internet, or any contact with home. It’s for their own safety, after all.
Or is it?


BookSpeak! Poems about books by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Josee Bisaillon – I am presently weeding the 800-900 sections in the library and jumped up when I found this book. I treasured every minute… Goodreads Summary: A collection of wacky, whimsical poems about books and all the treasures they contain. Laura Purdie Salas, the acclaimed author of Stampede!, is back with another collection of wild and weird, wacky and winsome poems about all the magic to be found on a single bookshelf. In BookSpeak!, each poem gives voice to a group that seldom gets a voice . . . the books themselves! Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore!Illustrator Josée Bisaillon’s mixture of collage, drawings, and digital montage presents page after page of richly colored spreads filled with action and charm. Together, Salas and Bisaillon deliver a unique collection brimming with ideas as much about spines and dust jackets as they are about adventure and imagination. —Here is the poem I thought would be lovely to share with classes, not exactly connected to book care instruction though!:

On the Shelf and Under the Bed

Sharp corners.
Clean pages.
Fresh ink.
Glossy cover.
The perfect book
stands straight on the shelf
up there.

Down here
dust bunnies
snuggle with me under the bed.
Grape jelly blobs stain and
smudge my pages.

My corners bend,
slick with greasy fingerprints,
and my spine is snapped
from being bent



Wolf Won’t Bite! by Emily Gravett – Emily Gravett never fails to make me laugh and additionally feed my quirky sense of humor completely. Three pigs capture a wolf and THINK they have the power to do whatever they like with it… loved the conclusion. Goodreads Summary: A funny picture book about three little pigs and a wolf who (maybe) won’t bite. — I found this YouTube video with someone reading the book- very cute:

Princess, A Pirate, and One Wild Brother by Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Kerstin Meyer – I had this book on my library book shelf for a while, figured I should finally read since I adore everything she writes… I wasn’t disappointed by the three fantastic stories with three strong female characters with the atypical endings. Loved them! Goodreads Summary: Three Cornelia Funke picture book classics together in one keepsake edition!
…Little Violetta trains in secret to become THE PRINCESS KNIGHT. Fierce Molly is out to show ferocious Captain Firebeard and his motley crew just who really rules the high seas in PIRATE GIRL. And brave Ben, THE WILDEST BROTHER, battles moldy green ghosts and slime-belching monsters–until the sun goes down. That’s when he seeks the protection of his big sis! Children everywhere will cheer for the feisty heroes in this happy collection. Meyer’s witty artwork and Funke’s perfect balance of humor and truth make it a treasury to cherish.

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads:

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12 comments on “Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 9/10/12

  1. Myra GB
    September 10, 2012

    Hi Debbie, so many delicious things in this post. I have also done a review of Wolf Won’t Bite! and I enjoyed reading that aloud to my ten year old (who has NOT outgrown Emily Gravett). I am unfamiliar with Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns – is it a picture book or a Middle Grade Novel? We are doing a Books about Books theme this coming week until the middle of November, and it sounds like a perfect book to feature as well. I know about BookSpeak! One of the GatheringBooks ladies received a copy from the publisher, and I’m looking forward to having Fats send me her copy. 🙂 I know I’d fall in love with the book.

    • The Styling Librarian
      September 10, 2012

      I Believe in Unicorns is a pretty easy read– I’d call it an early chapter book.

  2. Melanie Meehan
    September 10, 2012

    Thank you for so many reviews! I’m ordering the Worry Website as I have a little girl in my house who will enjoy that as well. I may also get her the Cornelia Funke book. You give great recommendations of books that aren’t always on my radar.

    • The Styling Librarian
      September 10, 2012

      Thanks! I have a new collection of books to become familiar with, enjoying the exploration! 🙂

  3. Katya
    September 10, 2012

    My kids like mythology books so I’ll have to look into Shadow of a Minotaur for them. Thanks!

  4. Lorna
    September 10, 2012

    That is so funny–I saw that Cornelia Funke book at the library yesterday, but opted to pass as the library bag was already about to burst. It looks fun and I love the sound of I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS.

    • The Styling Librarian
      September 12, 2012

      It was pretty special– Unicorns one… I need to finish reading all of Cornelia Funke’s books. Never read that early chapter book series of hers… sometime soon enough.

  5. Kathryn
    September 11, 2012

    Wow lots of books here, I think the Michael Murpurgo one appeals to me, story sounds good so I must look for it in our library.

  6. Christy
    September 12, 2012

    Is Shadow of the Minatour scary? What age range is it for? My 7 year old loves mythology, but gets scared and sensitive sometimes.

    • The Styling Librarian
      September 12, 2012

      I would say 5th grade 10-11 years old. I would recommend Mary Pope Osborne’s mythology non-fiction and series book as well for a 7 year old… I loved The Odyssey series that she adapted. It was brilliant- next series I’m reading with my son after we finish Spiderwick.

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