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Caraval

posted by: April 26, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover art for CaravalStephanie Garber’s debut novel Caraval has taken the teen world by storm. The first in a series, Caraval will lead you on an unforgettable, magical journey full of deception, love and family.

 

Scarlett and Donatella (Tella) Dragna dream of a future outside the grip of their violent, suffocating father. For Scarlett, that future lies in an arranged marriage. Scarlett’s plan is derailed, however, when she receives a long-awaited letter from Caraval Master, Legend.

 

For years during her childhood, Scarlett wrote to Legend in vain, pleading with him to bring Caraval, a touring interactive performance show, to their island home Trisda. Now, at the worst possible time, Legend invites Scarlett, her fiancé and Tella to experience Caraval as his special guests.

 

Scarlett initially refuses Legend’s offer, but is tricked by Tella and a mysterious sailor, who cart her off to Caraval despite her objections. Convinced she should make the most of the situation, Scarlett plans to stay for only one night so she can be home in time for her wedding. All of that changes, however, when her sister goes missing.

 

Scarlett has no choice but to enter Caraval, hoping to find Tella inside. At the start of Caraval, players and spectators alike are warned not to trust anything they see: it’s all just part of the game. The winner will receive the grand prize of one wish, and the object is simple: find Donatella Dragna.

 

Scarlett finds herself in a race against time — and every other Caraval player — to find her sister. Can she navigate the labyrinth of mystery and deceit that is Caraval? Or will she fall for the illusion?

 

Caraval is a one-of-a-kind reading adventure. Garber knowingly creates an unreliable narrator in Scarlett: if Scarlett can’t trust anything in her surroundings, how can the reader trust her? “Remember, it’s only a game.”

 


 
 

Girl Mans Up

posted by: April 24, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover Art for Girl Mans UpWhat does it mean to be loyal to your friends? To respect your parents? In Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard, Pen’s life is governed by the loyalty and respect others demand from her — loyalty to her best friend Colby, even if it means aiding his womanizing; respect to her old-fashioned parents, even if their expectations of who Pen should be don’t match who Pen knows she is.

 

What does it mean to be a girl? A boy? Despite others assuming at first glance she’s a boy, Pen knows she’s a girl who likes playing video games, doing yard work and (if she ever finds someone who’s interested) dating other girls. However, her mother wants Pen to wear dresses and makeup, learn how to cook and find a nice boy to date, like Colby. Colby wants Pen to be his wingman and help him create the illusion he’s a nice guy to date because he’s friends with a girl, even if she dresses and acts like one of the guys.

 

It doesn’t matter to Pen that Colby doesn’t stay in a relationship for long, that is until two things happen: One, she meets Olivia, one of Colby’s former flings who’s keeping a secret; two, she gets a girlfriend in Blake, a fellow classmate who Colby was initially interested in dating. These two new relationships force Pen to reevaluate her role as friend and daughter and her understanding of loyalty and respect. She’ll make some hard decisions about the type of person she wants to be as well as the types of people she wants in her life.

 

Girard captures not only how complicated friendships can become as children grow into teenagers but also how hard it is to struggle with the world’s perception of who you should be and how you should act versus who you know yourself to be. Girl Mans Up is brutally honest from start to finish in its depictions of gender identity, sexuality and bullying as well as the complications that accompany strained family relationships. It’s not an easy book in terms of topic, although it is a quick read, and Pen is a strong, complex character. Readers looking for more books featuring LGBTQ characters and themes should also check out The Other Boy by M. G. Hennessey and Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown.


 
 

A Taste for Monsters

posted by: April 20, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover Art for A Taste for MonstersIf you are interested in reading a work of teen fiction, especially one that involves a Victorian tale, horror and feel good story wrapped into one, then try A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby. Within the bustling crowded streets of late 19th century London, a killer, sometimes referred to as Leather Apron but more commonly known as Jack the Ripper, terrorized the town of Whitechapel. Caught in the middle of this chaotic situation are two unlikely characters who must find a way to solve this murder mystery or face its deadly and haunting consequences.

 

Joseph Merrick, a.k.a. The Elephant Man, is a major character, and this story provides insight into how his life may have been during this time period. The physical deformities that he developed as a child caused him to experience much hardship in life that ranged from extreme discomfort to hiding underneath a mask to avoid the often unwanted attention given to him around the streets of London. Despite this, Merrick was able to befriend a doctor named Jonathan Treves, who helped him to have a comfortable stay at the London Hospital until the end of his days. Along with these historical figures, an unexpected friendship develops between The Elephant Man and a young lady named Evelyn, who is hired to be his maid. Having worked as a matchstick girl, Evelyn contracts a disease which eats away at the jaw due to phosphorous exposure. As you can already guess, physical deformities are a prevalent theme throughout the book and the author encourages the reader to reflect on who really is the “monster” in the story.

 

A teen historical fiction, this is one that not only recreates the terror of Jack the Ripper but is also about being different and finding friendship despite the bleak circumstances. Those with an interest in this time period and subject matter may also want to try The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson or Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.


 
 

The Outsiders Turns 50

posted by: April 19, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover Art for The OutsidersFifty years ago this month, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was published. This classic in teen literature tells the story of young men in two competing gangs, the Greasers and the Socs. Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is a gritty, raw look at a teenage rivalry which turns deadly.

 

The novel inspired a 1983 film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It starred unknown young actors who would go on to great fame, including Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio and Matt Dillon.

 

The Outsiders remains a cultural touchstone. Since 1967, over 15 million copies have been sold. It is a regular required read for middle and high school students and has been translated into 30 languages. According to fanfiction.net, there are 8,100 stories based on the book. And Instagram has more than 300,000 posts which use the hashtag #staygold, an inspiration from a Robert Frost poem that appears in the book.

 

Hinton was 16 when the book was published and had no idea the impact her novel would have on generations of teens. Hinton told Entertainment Weekly last year, “I was 15 when I started writing the book, but I was even younger when I first started thinking about the story, so The Outsiders has been a significant part of the majority of my life.”


 
 

This month's BCPL's Reading Challenge is read a book that takes place in Asia. Here are some of our suggestions. Select any title to learn more or to request a copy. You can participate in BCPL's Reading Challenge with the help of a parent or guardian on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #Bwellread to earn prizes at the end of each month!

 

 BCPL Reading Challenge 2017 In Partnership with WBALTV

Cover art for And The Bollywood Burglary Cover art for Boxers and Saints Cover art for The BreadwinnerCover art for Chandra's Magic Light Cover art for Children Growing Up With War Cover art for Climbing the Stairs Cover art for The Contest Cover art for A Crack in the Sea Cover art for Cracker! Cover art for Diary of a Tokyo Teen Cover art for Dumpling Days Cover art for Every Falling Star Cover art for Factory Girl Cover art for The Forbidden Orchid Cover art for Four Feet, Two Sandals Cover art for Golda Meir Cover art for The Golden Sandal Cover art for Grandma and the Great Gourd Cover art for The Green Bicycle Cover art for Hush! Cover art for I Am Malala Cover art for I Remember Beirut Cover art for I Survived the Japanese Tsunami Cover art for Ibn al-Haytham Cover art for Inside Out & Back Again Cover art for Into the Killing Seas Cover art for Jungle Adventures Cover art for The Jungle BookCover art for The Knight, the Princess and the Magic Rock Cover art for The Last Cherry Blossom Cover art for The Last King Angkor Wat Cover art for Listen, Slowly Cover art for Little Lek Longtail Cover art for Lost and Found Cover art for Malala A Brave Girl from PakistanCover art for Mission Mumbai Cover art for The Monkey King Cover art for The Monster on the Road is Me Cover art for My Beautiful Birds Cover art for Night of the Ninjas Cover art for One Half from the East Cover art for The Paper Dragon Cover art for Patrol Cover art for Rutabaga Peak Cover art for The Persia Cinderella Cover art for A Piece of Home Cover art for Ronit & Jamil Cover art for The Jungle Book Cover art for Sachiko Cover art for SadakoCover art for Samurai Rising Cover art for Saving the Ghost of the Mountain Cover art for Season of the Sandstorms Cover art for Shalom Everybodeee! Cover art for Seven Days of YouCover art for Sherlock Sam Cover art for Shooting Kabul Cover art for he Imagination Station Cover art for Ticket to India Cover art for Tiger Boy Cover art for Tuko and the Birds Cover art for The Turtles of Oman Cover art for Vietnam Cover art for Women Heroes of World War IICover art for Year of the Jungle Cover art for Let's Celebrate Diwali Cover art for The Nian Monster Cover art for The Shady Tree


 
 

Salted and Cured

posted by: April 17, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover art for Salted and CuredSeveral years ago, Jeffrey Roberts authored the Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. His atlas highlighted carefully crafted, locally made cheeses and their makers, who hoped to lure American consumers away from those weirdly orange “pasteurized processed cheese foods” at the big grocery stores. The movement he championed in that first book has succeeded in a big way — now even the grocery store chains offer extensive cheese departments that often stock locally made gourmet cheeses.

 

With the publication of Salted and Cured: Savoring the Culture, Heritage and Flavor of America's Preserved Meats, Roberts hopes to provide the same service for locally cured meats. This new book delves into the historical hows and whys of curing meats, then introduces readers to the contemporary farmers, chefs and even bloggers who are champions of naturally made, carefully crafted, cured meats.

 

Roberts’ book shows readers how unexpected things like weather conditions affected the history of meats: desert versus swamp makes a big difference in how you cure your meats. From tales of ancient China and Egypt to how Native Americans taught explorers to make jerky, and from Italian prosciutto to Jewish corned beef at your favorite deli, Roberts tracks down the origins of cured meats. In the process, he tells the story of the waves of immigrants that brought their food traditions with them when they came to America.

 

Like this year’s BC Reads selection, Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman, Salted and Cured tells the story of America’s melting pot by looking at the ingredients various ethnic groups have brought to our kitchens. Fans of Mark Kurlansky’s Salt and the works of Michael Pollan should also enjoy this fascinating glimpse into food history and customs.

 


 
 

Free Play: Plants vs Zombies and Final Fantasy

posted by: April 12, 2017 - 7:00am

Like video games? Librarian Leah Schley has a few new ones to recommend that are available at Baltimore County Public Library (or online)...for free! In this episode, Leah explores Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, Super Dungeon Bros and Final Fantasy XV.

 

 

And just in case you missed it, here's the previous episode, which covers NBA 2K17, Ghostbusters and Trove.

 


 
 

Patricia McKissack, 1944-2017

posted by: April 11, 2017 - 10:20am

Cover Art for Goin' Someplace SpecialPatricia McKissack, award-winning author of more than 100 books for children, died at the age of 72 in her hometown of Chesterfield, a suburb of St. Louis. Born on August 9, 1944 in Smyrna, Tennessee, Patricia was inspired by her mother’s poetry reading and her grandparents’ storytelling to become a writer. Her family moved to Nashville where she graduated high school at age 16. She studied English at Tennessee A&I State University and also met her future husband and writing partner, Fredrick.

 

The pair shared a “missionary zeal” to write about African American characters “where there hadn’t been any before,” their eldest son Fredrick McKissack Jr. said yesterday. The McKissacks were at the forefront of creating diversity in children’s literature in race, geographical setting and social consciousness. Young readers of all ages are able to travel the world with Patricia’s books, which take children from the Deep South in America to Africa and span centuries. McKissack wrote in a wide range of genres, from historical fiction to science fiction, poetry to biography, all in an attempt to provide every young reader with a book which would spark interest and appeal.

 

Patricia’s work was popular with readers and also critically lauded. Her awards included a Newbery Honor and nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards. In 2014, Patricia and Fredrick’s work was recognized for its lasting contribution to literature with the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. A lifelong library lover, Patricia’s picture book Goin’ Someplace Special is a semi-autobiographical story of her weekly visits to her public library as a girl. In an interview about this beautiful book, she reflected, “The library was the doorway to freedom, to free thought when you're being told, ‘You can't, you can't, you can't, you can't.’ The library said, ‘You can, you can, you can, you can,’ and I did!” Be sure to check out some of her memorable books from this dedicated and important author in children’s literature.


 
 

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