Tuesday, October 31, 2017


 (Image from Amazon)

Title: Me...Jane
Author: Patrick McDonnell
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Copyright Date: 2011
Age Range: 2-7 years old
Lexile Level: 740


This is a narrative nonfiction book about Jane Goodall as a young girl. It introduces readers to the first 'chimp' in her life, her stuffed animal Jubilee. It also describes Jane's love of nature and animals and how she would read books about animals and study them in her backyard, with Jubilee. She dreamed of visiting Africa and being able to help animals...eventually her dream came true and her work with animals is well known all over the world. Children will admire Jane Goodall after reading about her.


This is a great book for a younger audience of 2-7 year olds. Any child who loves animals should be aware of Jane Goodall and all that she has accomplished through her studies of chimps. Readers who love animals are sure to love this book about a fellow animal lover. This book will show readers that their dreams are possible if they work hard and are dedicated to their passions. This is a great read-aloud for younger children, I especially think children would like the illustrations in this book.

 (Images from http://news.janegoodall.org)

Read alikes:

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps by: Jeanette Winter
Readers who enjoyed reading about Jane Goodall will like this book about her too.

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by: H. Joseph Hopkins
This book would be enjoyed by readers who like Jane's perseverance and her love of science.

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by: Laurie Lawlor
This book is also about a great female scientist, so readers will like to learn about Rachel Carson and all she has done for science.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Barefoot Book of Children

 (Image from Amazon)

Title: The Barefoot Book of Children
Author: Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Copyright Date: 2016
Age Range: 5-8 years old
Lexile Level: Not Found

This book teaches children about the differences between the children of the world. It shows it's readers that the world is a very diverse place and that we should be accepting of everyone who lives here. The first part of the book can be used as a read aloud book for storytimes in libraries and classrooms. The illustrations are very bright and colorful and the book is over-sized, so the audience will be able to see the pages clearly. The last few pages of this book are more informative and there are sections for each part of the book that was discussed, but in more detail. This gives a more in depth look at the world's different faiths, languages, food, etc. Examples from pages inside the book shown below.

 (Images from barefootbooks.com and globetrottinkids.com)


This book is great for children of all ages and genders. I think it is very informative and will help children understand that there are a lot of other children in the world that may look different than them or live differently than they do, but that they should be accepting of these differences.

Read alikes:

This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by: Matt Lamothe
This book follows the lives of seven different children from around the world. The countries discussed are: Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda and Russia. I think these are very diverse choices that children would learn a lot of new information from.

Same, Same but Different by: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
This book is about two pen pals, one that lives in America and one that lives in India. They have similar interests, but there worlds look different.

Barefoot Books World Atlas by: Nick Crane
This book is by the same publishing company and it is an atlas of the world. It is divided by geographic region and allows children to learn more about the world and the environment of different regions.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do

(Image from Amazon)

Title: Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do
Author: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Copyright Date: 2014
Age Range: 4-7 years old
Lexile Level: 650


This book is all about animals. Each page features a different, uniquely illustrated, animal who is asked a question about their features. The animal then replies why they look the way they look to the audience. This allows children to have fun while learning, which is a great feature for a nonfiction book to have.  

(Images from Pinterest and JuniorLibraryGuild)

Great read aloud features:
  • This book would be a great read aloud book to a group of preschoolers or kindergartners at a library or school. The reader can use funny voices for the animals to keep the children entertained and amused throughout the storytime.
  • It will introduce children to new animals they may never have heard of: barirusa, red fan parrot, axolotl, etc.  
  • The illustrations are bright, colorful and unique.
  • The reader will be able to ask the audience why they think the animals do the things they do…you might get some creative and funny responses from the children!


Boys and girls who love animals will love this book. They will be able to learn fun and exciting facts about animals and they will be able to enjoy reading the book with different voices for each animal in the book. If being read to, the reader can entertain them with the different voices.

Read alikes:

Actual Size by: Steve Jenkins
This incredible book by the same author allows children to get an up close examination of the animals included in the book. Children will be able to compare their hand to the hand of a gorilla or their head to the head of an Alaskan brown bear.

Living Color by: Steve Jenkins
This is another book by Jenkins, and will allow children to learn their colors and the different types of animals with those colors. The illustrations are very bright and clear and children will be able clearly see them even in a large group.

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents by: Lita Judge
This book will be enjoyed by children who like animals and they will be able to see and learn new facts about the baby animals of the world.


The following website describes author, Steve Jenkins, process for making this book. It is very interesting, he discusses: concept, research, sketches, text, illustrations, designs, production and the final book. http://www.stevejenkinsbooks.com/creaturefeatures/

Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers & Rebels

(Image from Amazon)

Title: Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers and Rebels
Author: Linda Skeers
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Copyright Date: 2017
Age Range: 8-14 years old
Lexile Level: Not found


This book provides short summaries of 52 brave women throughout history and throughout the world. Each woman is described briefly, yet thoroughly through text, brightly illustrated and their birth year, death year, place of birth and their nickname or what they were famous for are all highlighted on the page. The history of these brave and fearless women will encourage children to accomplish their goals with fearlessness.

(Image from booktopia.com)


I think young tween/teenage girls will particularly find this book fun and exciting, however young boys who think women can be brave and fearless too will enjoy this book just as much! History lovers will enjoy this book as well.

Read alikes:

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History...and Our Future! By: Kate Schatz
This book is very similar to Women Who Dared, each women depicted in illustrations and text, however each letter of the alphabet is represented by a woman in this book.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls By: Elena Favilli
This book depicts each women by illustration and through text as well. Each illustration is drawn by one of sixty different artists. The text is set up so parents or children can read about one woman per night.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by: Rachel Ignotofsky

This book describes the incredible women in the science field and all that they have accomplished throughout their careers. This book is illustrated as well.

Final comment:
I love all of the recent publications about strong female women from our history!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments

 (Image from Amazon.com)

Title: The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments: Awesome Things To Do With Your Parents, Babysitters and Other Adults
Author: Rachel Miller, Holly Homer and Jamie Harrington
Publisher: Page Street Publishing Company
Copyright Date: 2016
Age Range: 5-12 years old
This book is brightly illustrated and nicely organized, it is easy to read and easy to follow along with the step by step processes. There are four chapters: kitchen chemistry, physics and making things move, exploring the world and the human body. The experiments offered will allow children to have fun while learning more about science.
Each experiment offers readers:
  • A mess meter
  • Whether or not there are safety precautions or adult supervisions needed
  • Prep time
  • Experiment duration time
  • Supplies needed
  • An explanation of the experiment, why it worked and outcome
  • Variation examples
  • “Did you know?” and “Try This!” sections (which gives readers tips and tricks)
As this book states this book is great for children and their caregivers, however, the book is also useful to librarians who want to do STEM programs with children or teenagers. There are many ideas that can be used to create and implement fun and engaging programs in the library. Children and younger teens would enjoy the science and reactions they would learn from the program and have fun during the process.

Read alikes:
101 Kids Activities That are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives and Babysitters! By: Holly Homer and Rachel Miller

100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More with Fun Activities by: Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park by: Liz Lee Heinecke

https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/kids-activities-bloggers/the-101-coolest-simple-science-experiments The authors of this book have a blog that ties in very nicely with this book and their other books. It is called the Kids Activities Blog and it offers a lot of fun and exciting crafts and activities to do with children.

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

 (Image from Amazon.com)

Title: She Persisted:13 American Women Who Changed the World
Author: Chelsea Clinton
Publisher: Philomel Books
Copyright Date: 2017
Age Range: 4-8 years old
Lexile Level: 1170

This book describes the lives of 13 incredible women who persisted to change the world. This book will inspire young girls to stand up for what they believe in even if it goes against what others believe is right or wrong. The book encourages girls to persist just like the women throughout our history. Each woman in this book is briefly described, illustrated and a quote of theirs is provided to the reader. At the end of the book, the author encourages the reader to persist just like the women in the book do, because everyone's voice is important.

Children will enjoy this book about strong women and it will hopefully encourage them to grow up just as strong as the women in the book. I think young girls will especially enjoy this book, but boys who are interested in history will also find interest in this book. Adults are sure to love this book as well and it would be a great storytime book choice to read in schools or libraries during women's history month in March.

Read alikes:
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by: Debbie Levy
This biography discusses Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and explains that disagreeing with others isn't always a bad thing. She stands up for others and stands up for what she believes in.

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History and Our Future by: Kate Shatz
Much like She Persisted, this book describes incredible women who have shaped history and fought for what they believe in.

Rosie Revere, Engineer By: Andrea Beaty
This picture book inspires young girls to follow their heart and do what they love even if it is out of the ordinary. With hard work and determination she is able to accomplish her goals.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Egg is Quiet

Title: An Egg is Quiet
Written by: Dianna Aston
Illustrated by: Sylvia Long
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Copyright date: 2006
Age ranges: 4-10
Lexile level: 670

An Egg is Quiet introduces children to over 60 different types of eggs through brightly colored and clear illustrations, each illustrated drawing of an egg is labeled with what type of animal or insect it will turn into. Interesting facts about these eggs are also given throughout the book. Towards the end of the book there is a timeline of how the eggs hatch or evolve, the examples of a hen, salmon and grasshopper are given to show the differences between the types of egg processes. This is an explanatory nonfiction book that children are sure to enjoy with a parent, teacher or librarian.

I really enjoyed the content and organization of this book. The first two full pages include over 60 pictures of eggs, with the name of each animal or insect labeling it. The last two full pages include the hatched or evolved versions of each of those eggs from the first two pages, this gives children a visualization of what the eggs will turn into. The book begins with “An egg is quiet ,” in large cursive letters and the story told in those large cursive letters throughout the book would be a great read aloud for a younger audience of 4-6, the words that are larger lyrical and easily understood by a younger audience. There are some pages that also give more detailed information on the eggs in a smaller font, these words would be able to be better received by an older audience of children ages 6-10. Therefore the larger font can be read and then the smaller font can be read to the older audience so they can better understand the evolutions of eggs. I think this is a unique and interesting feature of this book that makes it stand out as an explanatory nonfiction book. 

Why should it be a part of a collection?
This is one of the most unique nonfiction explanatory books for children that I have read. I love how depending on how much or how little you read of the book, you can read to different age audiences. It is also beautifully illustrated and written and has great reviews. There are also other books by the author that are similar to this book, and I would recommend a library own all of them.

Intended audience:
Children, ages 4-10, who love animals, birds and insects especially, would enjoy this book. They would be able to learn about up 60 different types of eggs, including fun facts, what they look like, and in the back of they will be able to see what the animal/insect looks like as well, once it hatches. This book would be a great read aloud in a classroom or story time. The text makes it so only some of the text needs to be read, for younger audiences or you can read all of the information in the book for children who are a little bit older and able to understand more.

Read alikes:

Other books by Dianna Aston include:

A Beetle is Shy
A Butterfly is Patient
A Nest is Noisy
A Rock is Lively
A Seed is Sleepy

Books with similar topics:

Whose Egg? by: Lynette Evans
Guess What is Growing Inside This Egg by: Mia Posada
Over and Under the Pond By: Kate Messner

All of the books mentioned above would be good recommendations to children who liked this book because the first group is by the same author and the books have a very similar structure/message and the second group are all books recommend to children who are fascinated with more information about eggs and nature.

http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/an-egg-is-quiet/ This website provides extra resources, questions to ask your audience, and crafts and activities that would work well with this book.

Extension activity
This would be a great book to read to classes that have baby chicks in their classrooms in order to explain the process of eggs a little further. In a library setting, if there was someone in the community who is willing to show or bring in their chicks and eggs for children at a story time to see, that would be a great tie-in to this book to allow children the chance to see eggs in person. (Images from Amazon)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Young Adult Annotation - All the Bright Places

(Image retrieved from: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18460392-all-the-bright-places)


Author: Jennifer Niven
Title: All the Bright Places
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: 2015
Number of Pages: 383
Geographical Setting: Indiana 
Time Period: 21st Century
Series: Not a Series

Plot Summary: 

Violet and Finch meet at the top of a bell tower of their high school, Violet has decided she doesn't want to live anymore because she is grieving the death of her sister and feels guilty over her death. Finch is fascinated by death and often fantasizes about how he would like to die; he also went up to the bell tower to commit suicide. On that day they save each other from ending their lives. They then begin to develop a friendship after they are paired together for a class assignment that asks them to travel their home state of Indiana. They each share their feelings and personal lives with one another while traveling and they begin to develop a relationship. While Finch helps Violet overcome her depression and hardships, Violet is unable to help Finch with his. Finch deals with depression and issues that are far beyond the reach of anyone's help.

Subject Headings: 

Suicidal Behavior-Fiction
Emotional Problems-Ficiton
Young Adult Fiction


This book deals with sensitive and real topics that not everyone is comfortable discussing or reading about, but they are real and prevalent issues in today's society. Depression affects many people and suicide due to bullying and depression is becoming more common. Teens and adults will be deeply affected by this book and they will be able to relate to the characters that Niven has created. 

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Relatable, Heartbreaking, Beautifully written

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations by Jessica Nunemaker-This book relates to All the Bright Places because Finch and Violet explored Indiana for their class assignment and visited many different parts of the state. 
I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair- Throughout this book Violet deals with the sudden loss of her sister, this book would be helpful to someone who relates to Violet and has also lost someone they love. 

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One by Carla Fine- This book would be helpful for people who have lost someone they love to suicide. Finch decides to commit suicide in this novel, due to his depression and other circumstances and Violet is deeply affected by his decision.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon- The topics in this book differ than the ones in All the Bright Places, but the writing style and characters are similar in ways. I think readers would also enjoy this book if they enjoyed Niven's writing style and development of characters. 

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven- This is Niven's second young adult novel and it deals with difficult topics, such as, loss of a loved one, bullying, and depression. 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher- This young adult novel deals with depression, bullying and suicide, much like All the Bright Places, however in this novel it is a girl that commits suicide and the reader knows from the beginning that she has committed suicide.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Week 12 Prompt

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) By: Mindy Kaling

(Image retrieved from: https://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Hanging-Without-Other-Concerns/dp/0307886271)

Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
This book is highly narrative.

What is the subject of the book?
Kaling uses personal experience and humor in order to tell stories about her life and give advice to others.

What type of book is it?
Nonfiction, Humor and Entertainment, essays about life

What is the pacing of the book?
This book reads very quickly, but the pace is slower.

Describe the characters of the book.
The character in the book is Mindy Kaling, who is an actress and comedienne. She is intelligent, funny and relatable. There are many of her friends and coworkers mentioned throughout the book as well. 

How does the story feel?
Uplifting, comical, entertaining.

What is the intent of the author?
To entertain readers with personal stories and to give funny advice.

Does the language matter?
Not much, she references pop culture often though for readers who are unfamiliar with that.

Is the setting important and well described?
The setting is not very important, all readers need to know is that it takes place in the 21st century and mainly in New York and L.A.

Are there details and, if so, of what?
There are not many details, just enough to tell short stories to the reader.She doesn't give very much personal information about herself, and when she does, it's minimal. 

Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials? Are they useful and clear?
There are pictures of Kaling throughout the book, they are useful in that they are entertaining, relate to her life and allow the reader to see Kaling at different stages of her life and career.

Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?
The book mainly focuses on the experiences of Kaling’s life. There are moments of learning and understanding throughout the book, but they are not main factors.

Why would a reader enjoy this book (rank appeal)?
1. Funny              2. Entertaining             3. Relatable

Nonfiction Annotation

(Image retieved from: https://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153)

Author: Susan Cain
Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Genre: Non-Fiction, Health, mind and body, Psychological 
Publication Date: 2012
Number of Pages: 333
Geographical Setting: United States
Time Period: 20th, 21st 
Series: Not a series, but the author wrote a children's book called, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, for younger readers. 

Plot Summary: This book states that the western world has created an extrovert ideal and that many people think introverts are not as likely to be successful as extroverts. It describes the importance of introverts through Cain’s thorough research on the topic. Cain states that at least 1/3 of the population are introverts, so it's important to know their characteristics and be aware of the different types of personality traits. She covers topics on both extroverts and introverts, how the two can get along and interact with each other, the importance of both types and how other cultures view these personality types. Cain details the advantages and disadvantages of both introverts and extroverts and dispels the myth that one is better than the other. Cain suggests changes in work environments, schools and parenting in order to encourage introverts and allow them to use their unique personality traits to benefit themselves and others in their careers, schooling and personal life. 

Subject Headings: Introverts
Interpersonal Relations 

Appeal: If you consider yourself an introvert, I highly recommend reading this book. I’ve read this book many times, when I first read this book I came to the realization that I was highly introverted. I take solace in being alone and having my quiet time. Being social often drains me and I dislike small talk, big groups and too much noise. Reading this book is an eye opening experience because I realized that there are many other people in the world who are like me and can relate to how I feel about certain situations. Reading this book made many of my actions and feelings make sense and allowed me to feel normal in a sense.

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Informative, Enlightening, Relatable

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength by: Laurie Helgoe Ph.D- These books are very similar, Helgoe emphasizes the strengths of introverts and explains that introverts gain energy and power from reflection and being alone. 
The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World by: Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D- This book states that it can boost introverts confidence and create strategies for thriving in an extroverted world. It is also a great book for introverts to read in order to understand themselves better and be able to cope in the extroverted world we live in. 
Introvert Doodles: An Illustrated Look at Introvert Life in an Extrovert World by: Maureen Marzi Wilson- This is a fun read to relate to if you are an introvert. It is a graphic novel that depicts what it is like to be an introvert living in an extrovert world. 

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Introvert by: Michael Paul Michaud- This book is considered a mystery, thriller, suspense novel. The title alone makes it a great read alike. It is about an introverted vacuum salesman that lives a quiet life alone with his dog. The story evolves and suddenly the main character is the center of a murder investigation. It is described as a “sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.”

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz- The main character of this book, Oscar, is described as a social introvert. He is scared of the social scenes he partakes in, but he does crave interpersonal relationships, he wants a girlfriend. He is usually found reading or writing science fiction or fantasy, but he does want deep relationships, but socializing doesn't come naturally to him. 

Where'd You Go Bernadette? By: Maria Semple- Bernadette is an introvert and agoraphobic, who runs away from her life when her family decides to take a trip to Antarctica. She doesn't want to deal with all the other people who will be going on the trip with them, so instead of socializing she decides to run away instead.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Historical Fiction Annotation

(Image retrieved from: https://www.amazon.com/Water-Elephants-Novel-Sara-Gruen/dp/1565125606)

Author: Gruen, Sara
Title: Water for Elephants
Genre: Historical Fiction, Love Story
Publication Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 335
Geographical Setting: There are multiple settings for this book, during the flash-forward it takes place in a nursing home, in the flashbacks, it starts out at Cornell University and then the majority of the book takes place in the circus.
Time Period: 1930s, 1990s

Plot Summary: Water for Elephants is told as a story through the main character, Jacob Jankowski, who is now in his nineties and living in a nursing home. His story takes place in 1932, in the circus world, as he transitions to life in the circus after he discovers his parents have both died in an accident and he is forced to drop out of veterinary school. The circus owner gives Jacob a job as the circus' veterinarian after learning about his educational background. Quickly after arriving at the circus Jacob falls in love with Marlena, who is married to, August, the head animal trainer, who is abusive to both Marlena and the animals he trains, including Rosie, the elephant. Jacob also dearly cares for Rosie and learns that she only responds to commands in Polish, which Jacob speaks, so he starts training her. The bond that develops between Jacob, Marlena and Rosie throughout the novel allows the reader to want to keep reading until the very end. 

Subject Headings: Circus-fiction
Circus Performers-fiction

Appeal: Jacob Jankowski's kindness and love for Marlena and the animals at the circus, especially Rosie, will allow readers to be captivated by the story and engage with the characters. Strong and kind characters are a big appeal to readers, because the reader becomes attached to the characters and this leads to them wanting to know what happens to them next. The love story between Marlena and Jacob will also captivate readers, readers will want Jacob to save Marlena from her abusive husband. 

3 terms that best describe this book: Engaging, Romantic, Atmospheric

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy and the Circus by: Dean N. Jensen- This book states it's “a true life Water for Elephants.” It's a story about the famous trapeze artist, Leitzel and her love affair with Alfredo Codona, a fellow trapeze artist. 

Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by: Ralph Helfer-This book tells the trials and tribulations of the life of Bram and Modoc, a man and a circus elephant who made his rise to stardom in 1940s New York City. Readers who enjoyed the relationship between Jacob and Rosie will enjoy this novel as well. 

American Sideshow: An Encyclopedia of History's Most Wonderous and Curiously Strange Performers by Marc Hartzman-This book gives readers a behind the scenes look at the life of circus performers, and it gives the history of the circus through the years. 

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Orphan's Tale by: Pam Jenoff- Both works are historical fiction that take place in a circus setting. Both main characters take refuge with the circus, which comes with ups and downs. 

The Night Circus by: Erin Morgenstern- Both books revolve around life in a circus, although The Night Circus has magic and fantasy throughout the story. 

At the Water's Edge by: Sara Gruen- Reader's who enjoyed Water for Elephants will hopefully also enjoy Gruen's other novel, for similar writing style and the historical fiction aspect. The novel does not take place in a circus setting for readers who liked that aspect of her first book.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Women's Lives and Relationships Annotation - The Help

(Image retrieved from- http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4667024-the-help)

Author: Kathryn Stockett
Title: The Help
Genre: Women's Lives and Relationships, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
Number of Pages: Paperback- 544 pages
Geographical Setting: Jackson, Mississippi
Time Period: 1960s
Series (if applicable): Not a series

Plot Summary: 
The Help takes place in Jackson Mississippi in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement. Through alternating chapters from the viewpoints of the three main characters, life as an African-American maid in the south during the 1960s is described. Aibileen Clark is one of the main characters who is an African-American maid, raising her seventeenth white child, normally she quietly takes orders from her employers, but because of the way she is continually poorly treated by her employers she is having trouble staying quiet anymore. Her friend Minny Jackson, who is also a maid for a wealthy white family, has never been able to keep quiet about how she is treated. Lastly, is Skeeter Phelan, a young, wealthy white woman who recently graduated from college, even though she has accomplished so much, to her mother's dismay she still hasn't found a husband. Skeeter usually confides in her maid, Constantine, but she has seemingly disappeared and no one will tell her where she has gone. These three story lines intertwine and the women begin to work on writing a tell-all book on how southern African-American maids are treated by their white employers. Even though they are aware of the risks involved they continue their work in hopes of inspiring a change in the world. 

Subject Headings:
Civil Rights Movements-Fiction
African American Women-Fiction
Jackson Mississippi-Fiction

This book is heartwarming, funny and leaves the reader wanting to know more about the wonderful characters described in the book. The three main characters are smart, funny, and strong willed, they prove to themselves and to their community that they deserve a place in the world and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. This book is hopeful and readers will root for their favorite characters and delight in the downfalls of their least favorite characters. The Help is a must-read.

3 Terms that Best Describe this book: Historical, Heartwarming, and Humorous

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights by Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due-Mother and Daughter give alternating view points of the Civil Rights Movement in this book, it describes the hardships that African-American women faced during the Civil Rights Movement.
Sisters in the Struggle: African-American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement by Bettye Collier-Thomas- This book discusses the importance of women during the Civil Rights Movement, even though their stories were rarely heard. Various women heroes stories are told throughout the book.
Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1965 by Davis W. Houck- This book discusses the importance of the roles that women, both black and white, played during the Civil Rights Movement. This book presents 39 speeches that women gave during the movement during the most intense times in the 1950s and 1960s.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd- Both books take place in the south, in the 1960s. They focus on strong African-American women who fight for their rights.
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin- Both books are set in a racially segregated Mississippi during the 1960s, they focus on how the Civil Rights Movement changed society during that time.
Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal- Both books are set in the south in the 1960s, Dollbaby focuses on a girl who finds a family in the most unexpected place, and she learns to understand the difference of races for the first time.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Science Fiction Annotation - The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Title: The Martian
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: Self-published in 2011, published in 2014
Number of Pages: 369
Geographical Setting: Mars and Earth
Time Period: Unknown
Series (if applicable): Not a series

Plot Summary:
Mark Watney who is presumed dead by his crew mates, is accidentally left behind when a dust storm on Mars forces the team to abort their mission. He is injured and only has a limited amount of food and supplies which he will have to use to last him until the next trip NASA makes to Mars. Through Watney’s resourcefulness, smarts and good sense of spirit he is able to stay alive long enough for NASA to realize he has survived and they are able to create a rescue plan in order to save Watney from the deadly planet of Mars and possible starvation. Using his desire to survive, resourcefulness, engineering and botanist skills he continually confronts one obstacle after the next until he can be rescued.

Subject Heading:

This book is fast-paced and easy to read despite its use of technical math and scientific terms.  It is suspenseful and thrilling, yet really humorous and entertaining at points. Watney’s desire to survive is what I found most appealing in this book, he is a strong, relatable, smart, courageous character and the reader will cheer for his survival throughout reading the book.

3 Terms that Describe this Book:  
Humorous, Suspenseful and Entertaining

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must by Robert Zubrin- This book describes how humans can be sent to Mars using present day technology.

Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet by Leonard David- This book explains that Mars is next in line for space exploration and how human habitation on Mars isn’t too far off.

Destination Mars: New Explorations of the Red Planet by Rod Pyle-This book describes NASA and the European Space Agency’s plans to conduct four different trips to Mars in the near future. It describes the history of Mars exploration and the challenges and difficulties of traveling there.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson- Both of these books are science fiction and they deal with survival. In each book the characters deal with the planets natural forces which causes imminent danger to them.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer- Both are relatively recent sci-fi books about survival, although this book deals with a group of people, it is the first book in a trilogy and it is more eerie than the Martian.  

I am Legend by Richard Matheson- Both books are about  a man trying to survive on a plant, although in I am Legend there are vampires after the character in I am Legend, I think both are suspenseful and similar enough for readers to enjoy both.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Maddy is basically allergic to the world and she hasn’t left her house since she was very little. Her immune system can’t handle the outside elements or so she’s been told her whole life. She spends her days inside her house with her mother and nurse; she studies her schoolwork, plays games with her mother and is often found on Tumblr. She has accepted her secluded life, until she meets Olly, the new boy next door who is wild, funny, and nice and wants to meet Maddy face-to-face. Her mother objects at first, so they are only allowed to speak through emails. Soon Maddy finds herself willing to risk everything in order to be with Olly, even if that means her health starts to decline. The book ends with a plot twist that makes readers examine the meaning of true love and loving so deeply that you would do anything to protect the ones you love. Interspersed throughout the book are beautiful drawings by Yoon’s husband, lists made by Maddy and email and text transcripts that bring the book alive. This engaging story is humorous, relatable, and endearing. Readers get to follow Maddy’s story as she discovers life, love and forgiveness of others for the first time in her young life. Yoon has developed characters that are so relatable and likeable; Maddy and Olly’s dialogue between each other is face-paced and witty. Readers will fall in love with the characters of Maddy and Olly as easily as they fall in love with each other. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


My name is Kate. I’m from Schererville, Indiana (40 miles outside of Chicago). I graduated from Purdue University Calumet in 2012 with a Liberal Arts degree; I majored in history and got a minor in English.

After graduation (which will be later this year!) I plan on becoming a reference librarian at a public library, hopefully with the Lake County Public Library System, which is where I work now as an Assistant Librarian at the St. John, IN branch, where I focus on teen and adult services. A few programs I facilitate monthly are teen anime club, teen gaming day, teen crafting, a travel film series and a classic film series.

In the past I have worked with the Humane Society Calumet Area, Purdue University Calumet, and as a babysitter for the same family for 5 years. All of my previous jobs sum me up pretty well: I love children, animals and furthering my education. I love to read, I enjoy photography, traveling, and I love all things nerdy (Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Sci-fi, Legos, Disney, comics, video games, etc…)

I look forward to working with everyone this semester!

Personal Reading Profile

 I love to read, I have ever since I was little. My goal for 2017 is to read 75 books, last year I read 100, but I've got a lot on my plate this year so I set a lower goal this year (Although last year my goal was 75, so we'll see what happens!) I will try reading anything that gets recommended to me, but I tend to know what I will or won't like by reading the summary of a book. My favorite genres are young adult, classic literature, fantasy, sci-fi, graphic novels and nonfiction. My least favorite genres are horror, suspense, and romance novels. I'm currently reading three books Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell and the The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do by Sarah Knight. I recently (within the last year) started a book club with fellow library workers at the library system where I work. I am often on Amazon buying books or I still seek out the few book stores that remain in my area. I plan to create a little library of my own one day.

Great Graphic Novels I read in 2016
1. Alias Omnibus by Brian Michael Bendis
2. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction
3. Preacher by Garth Ennis
4. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
5. The Wicked and the Divine by Kieron Gillen
6. Lady Killer by Joelle Jones
7. Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
8. Heart in a Box by Kelly Thompson
9. To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful by Shane L. Koyczan
10. Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton

A Few of My Favorite Books
1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
2. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
3. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
7. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
8. The Little Prince by Antoine

10. Anything by John Green, Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot, Kiersten White, or Victoria Schwab.

Below is a link to my Goodreads account.
Kate Gibson-Personal Reading Profile