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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than NotMore Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Soho Press and Soho Teen for the ARC, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Aaron Soto is a character you will not soon forget. He is honest, curious, and searching for happiness in his Bronx neighborhood that is constricting and judgmental. It is Aaron’s thoughts, words, and actions that speak deeply about the kind of guy Aaron desperately wants to be in his neighborhood and the wider world around him. It is through a series of relationships, decisions, and the futuristic Leteo Institute that the reader discovers Aaron is struggling with being gay in a world that won’t accept him. I wept for Aaron’s tragedies and hoped that he would become “more happy than not.” Silvera writes a serious,engaging novel that will hook teens and then have them question if there really should be a cure for whatever one wants to forget. I highly recommend this book for the teen and adult reader.

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC, Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, second book in The Diviners Series and oh was it awesome and heart-pounding! I could not put it down. Once again the reader is ensconced in the 1920s world where Evie O’Neill has become a hit radio personality as a Diviner. But all is not well in New York as an unknown sleeping sickness is claiming more and more victims. Evie and her Diviner friends are pulled into an increasing storm involving underground railroad tunnels, ghosts, and dreams. What I loved about this book was the increasing suspense as more and more Diviners join to thwart the demons. Are the Diviners the only ones who can do something about the evil, hungry ghosts lurking in the tunnels? If you enjoy paranormal phenomena, this book is a thriller; suspenseful, and horror-filled with a spine-tingling plot and well-developed characters that do not disappoint!

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img alt="Everything I Never Told You" border="0" src="" /></a><a href="">Everything I Never Told You</a> by <a href="">Celeste Ng</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Loved this book about the wide ranging effects of grief that the death of a favorite daughter causes in a mixed-race family in a 1970s small town. James Lee is Chinese, born and raised in the US, but that has not stopped him from hearing the racial slurs, having few friends, and being embarrassed by his parents.  As a college professor, he meets, falls in love and marries Marilyn, blond hair, blue eyes and not Chinese.  They have 3 children and it is the middle child, Lydia, who is raised with many expectations.  The author does a superb job of exploring the depths of each family members' misunderstandings and secrets in light of Lydia's death.  Ng also lays bare the Lee's ignoring their other children while Lydia's aspirations take precedence. I ached for the Lee family -James, Marilyn, Nath, Hannah, and Lydia as their lives are laid bare, but I loved them as tragically flawed individuals as they struggle for love, absolution and answers.  Highly recommended.   
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X: a Novel by Ilyasah and Kekla Magoon

X: A NovelX: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

X is the fictional retelling of the early life of Malcolm X with his daughter and stellar, Kekla Magoon. Thoroughly researched using his diaries and writings, the reader meets Malcolm as a six year old when he loses his father. This incident is pivotal in his later development and the reader learns about his disillusionment with his parent's uplifting "you can do anything" talks. We follow Malcolm as he flees his home in Flint and lives in Boston and New York, totally absorbed in the high life and hustles, along with drugs, dating a white woman and burglary, which lands him in jail. I could not put this book down; the time period Malcolm lived in was rife with racism; he came from a solid family but his parents convictions resulted in Malcolm's downfall and running away from the love and support of his family. It was his time in prison, writing to his family, and embracing Islam that mark a turning point in his life to become the leader of his people. Please read this book and join me in discussing this highly readable historical fiction book on Twitter with #2jennsbookclub on 7/30 at 8pm EST.

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Well, isn't that the life of a teacher librarian? We are constantly changing what we do and how we do it.

This summer I moved every book in my library and discarded some very old non-essential materials and made lists to replace them with 21st century materials. I also dumped all of my VHS tapes. Yes, you read this correctly. ALL VHS tapes are gone.

There are two reasons for dumping the technology. First, it is ancient technology in schools today when we have laptops instead of DVD players, LCD projectors, and electronic whiteboards. None of the teachers have VHS players in their rooms. None of the teachers have TVs in their rooms. We have one TV in the entire building located in the lobby and it is not to be used for TV shows.

Second, like most people we download, we subscribe, we stream, or we play from a DVD in our laptops. We may be replacing student laptops with Chromebooks so we will only have teacher laptops left in our building. So, out with the VHS tapes. I have spent a lot of time ridding the library of ancient tech and I think I am almost at the end. Baby steps but steps indeed.

Third, I needed the space for my students. I teach in a PK - 4th grade school where very few children reach my shoulder before 4th grade. Due to lack of space my books were shelved on 72" shelves where many students could not reach them and certainly did not maintain the integrity of the shelf once a book was removed. I spread out the books by reclaiming four three-foot 72" tall units and so could lower books for my shorter students, raise individual shelf height to accommodate tall books and make the library look much neater.

I shifted my non-fiction materials, weeded a few I went, to take back those shelves. By doing so I was able to shift my biographies into the non-fiction section and put them at a better height as well. I also reorganized my picture book section by AR level. Our school enjoys using AR and I wanted to make the sections more distinct. I spent a great deal of time color coding levels and reshelving. Books without AR quizzes are shelved at the end of the section to be revisited and enjoyed.

I finished reorganizing the fiction section of the library by genre. My students loved that I did this last year as it made the sections easier to access and when students asked where the fiction sports books were shelved, I could point to a section. I also removed a computer table and two chairs in order to make way for two recycled seating benches. I want my kids to enjoy sitting and reading on days where we are free to just read.

My next goal is to replace some of the old furnishings in the library. I have a GoFundMe account set up so if you are interested in see what has been done and want to help out, go here:

Thanks and enjoy!


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