2013 Youth Media Awards Announced

By , January 31, 2013

The Library Academy Awards (Youth Media Awards) were announced at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting on  January 28th.  Children’s Librarians from around the country (and world) donned their finest broom skirts, wooden jewelry, comfortable shoes, and sweeping up-do’s (buns) and waited anxiously while the winners were announced.

Your own Nashville Public Library’s Children’s Librarians had a little pool going to see who could pick the winner this year.  At stake?  Some of my delicious homemade chocolate chip hazelnut cookies to the librarian(s) who pegged the winner.  We only focused on the Caldecott (picture books) and Newbery (chapter books.)


Our picks for Caldecott were as follows:

Ms. Phyllis at Main: Georgia In Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky
Ms. Lindsey at Main: This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen*
Miss Terri at Green Hills: I Have a Dream Words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Ms. Angela at Edmondson Pike and Ms. Joy at Thompson Lane: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger**
Ms. Ellen at Bordeaux: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Ms. Lin at Madison: Oh no, George! By Chris Haughton
Ms. Klem-Mari At Bringing Books to Life: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen**
Ms. Elaine at Donelson: And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E Stead
Ms. Sarah at Donelson: A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
Ms. Tori at Edmondson Pike: Happy by Miles van Hout

And the 2013 Caldecott winner is:

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

*  okay, so I might have changed my mind at the last minute in our official pool, however, I stated publicly here that this was my pick for Caldecott and my love for Jon Klassen is unparalleled, so I’m counting it!  I’m making the cookies afterall!

** these titles were 2013 Caldecott Honor Books


Our picks for the 2013 Newbery:

Ms. Phyllis at Main, Miss Terri at Green Hills, and Ms. Tori at Edmondson Pike: Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Ms. Lindsey at Main: See You At Harry’s by Johanna Knowles*
Ms. Angela at Edmondson Pike: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Ms. Ellen at Bordeaux: The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
Ms. Lin at Madison: I Funny by James Patterson
Ms. Joy at Thompson Lane: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage**
Ms. Elaine at Donelson: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Schlitz**

And the 2013 Newbery winner is:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate:  I am about 1/3 of the way in and so far it is a lovely, if not a bit forlorn, quick read.  I have heard people call it “our generation’s Charlotte’s Web.” Those are some big pages to fill, so I won’t speak to the correctness of that description, yet.

* Again, I changed my mind at the last minute, but Wonder was getting plenty of love and I wanted to recognize See You at Harry’s, a heart-wrenchingly great book I will review here soon.

** These titles were Newbery Honor Books.


Kudos to ME! and Ms. Angela at Edmondson Pike for picking the winners (even if I cheated a little)

You can see the full list of the 2013 Youth Media Awards here.  All of which are available at Nashville Public Library (or will be soon!).


Super Bowl pick: Those Guys Have All the Fun

By , January 28, 2013

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
by James A. Miller & Thomas Shales

If cable TV has a rock star, it is not a music network, but ESPN. It keeps behaving badly and just keeps getting more popular. Those Guys Have All the Fun is an oral history of ESPN’s rise to “world domination.” The book could have been titled how to make a television network from scratch, warts and all, completely uncensored. For those of you who hate sports, I should have said upfront that the story of ESPN is a compelling American odyssey involving all sorts of people and from all walks of life. It is a story that transcends the knocking of balls and cracking of skulls. It is the American dream realized. It is our collective nightmare. Maybe that’s hyperbole. It is a story of big personalities, big money, sex, and TV.

ESPN started as a family business made possible by intra-family loans. The network grew as cable grew – truly home grown in the nowheresville town of Bristol, Connecticut. Eventually, real money gets involved – Mickey Mouse money. Yes, Disney bought ESPN. You’ll learn why your cable costs so much. Hint: it has something to do with Hank Williams and Monday night. Miller and Shales don’t turn a blind eye to the entrenched culture of  sexual harassment at the network. Think Mad Men but as a qualification to get hired at this agency you have to be a sports fanatic. Yeah, it was bad. Racial tensions within the network were a microcosm of racial tensions in our culture at large. This continues to this day. With matters of race and sport tied so closely together, how could it not?

Some have criticized the book for letting ESPN off the hook. If Those Guys Have All the Fun handled its subject with kid gloves, I’m afraid of what  a more rigorous examination would look like.  Differing points of view on controversial subjects were all given a chance to make their case. I listened to the book on Playaway. The weight of its length is lessened by multiple narrators. With different male and female voices, it feels like you are in the room while the interviews are happening.

I stopped paying for cable years ago but can enjoy much of ESPN’s programming via their Podcenter. There you can find streaming and downloadable versions of their radio and TV talk shows. I still unwind most work days by listening to Around the Horn featuring my favorite sports writer Kevin Blackistone. He was the only commentator on the show brave enough to call out the press for making such a fuss over the “death” of an imaginary woman whenever there was a real death at Notre Dame that went conspicuously under reported.

Oh, and the Super Bowl? I’m rooting for coach Harbaugh.

- Bryan

Book review: Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages

By , January 24, 2013

Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages

By Michael Popek


Michael Popek began working at his parent’s used and rare book store where he was responsible for buying and sorting books.  On a whim, he created a blog so that his friends could see some of the unusual things he was finding inside of the books he processed.  That blog became the basis for his book Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages.

Popek divided the book’s chapters into five categories “Photographs,” “Letters, Cards and Correspondence,”Notes, Poems, Lists and Other Written Ephemera,” “Receipts, Invoices, Advertising, and Other Official Documents,” and “The Old Curiosity Shop: From Four-Leaf Clovers to Razor Blades.” He also featured photographs of both the forgotten items and the book in which they were found.

Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages is charming and captivating.  You find yourself wanting to know the story behind the letters, postcards and photographs…. Not only are you seeing wonderful examples of ephemera but you are getting to see the lovely cover art of the books themselves.

Don’t miss it.


- Karen





Book review: Columbine

By , January 22, 2013

by Dave Cullen

When unspeakable tragedies occur, we ask the question how could this have happened?  After the horrific shootings at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado on April 20th, 1999, many theories were offered as to why the shooters carried out such violence.    Dave Cullen’s book Columbine gives an authoritative look into the lives of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, debunking many myths surrounding the tragedy.

A decade in the making, Cullen carried out meticulous research, including interviews with living victims of the tragedy, and the loved ones of those lost.  Cullen talked in particular with FBI agent and clinical psychologist Dwayne Fuselier, who played an integral role in the investigation.  Fuselier studied the killers’ journals and video recordings, which reveal a slow to accelerated build of  psychopathy in Harris and depression in Klebold.  In the pages of Columbine, Cullen also uncovers the mishandling of the investigation by the local police force, including telling events prior to the tragedy.  Finally, Cullen leaves the reader at the dedication of the memorial, providing updates into the living victims’ lives, and the loved ones of those lost on that terrible day.

It is heartbreaking that true stories like this one are here to be told.  In his book, Cullen has covered the events leading up to, and after April 20th, 1999, with great journalistic integrity.

Book review: This Machine Kills Secrets

By , January 21, 2013

This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World’s Information
by Andy Greenberg

This Machine Kills Secrets charts the rise and fall of Wikileaks. The word “Wikileaks” is no longer the boogeyman it once was. The current public debate about online privacy might indicate that the philosophical roots behind Wikileaks has gained traction with the general populace.  This book is a history of said philosophy. The ideological manifestation of this philosophy is a belief in the right to privacy. The pragmatic manifestation of this philosophy is encryption, or the ability to scramble data so only you and those you choose can unscramble it. Those ideologically motivated enough to take pragmatic action wrote encryption software.  Of course, encryption and related technologies can be used for anonymous whistle-blowing too. The people who wrote encryption software are either freedom fighters or paranoid wackjobs depending on your perspective. Pick your poison. It makes for great reading. It also makes for strange bedfellows. I was left wondering what gun nuts in Idaho think of Julian Assange. Greenberg works in a biography of Assange, a history of digital encryption, a (sort of) history of hacker collective Anonymous, and how this all led to a quiet revolution in Iceland. I couldn’t put it down.

If this book tickles your fancy, the author recently participated in an “ask me anything”  session on Reddit where he answered user questions in depth and revealed more personal opinions about Wikileaks. Check it, and his book, out.

- Bryan

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest

By , January 20, 2013

Philistine Cover

The Philistine explodes bomb-bombs to fire the bum-bums and the should-be dumb-dumbs . . . The good stuph is gathered every month by Elbert Hubbard, plucked sizzling from the fiery furnace, and put in palatable, picturesque, and piquant form for the delectation of the faithful . . . The Philistine is never dull.  It makes many glad, some sad, and a few mad.  It says things that make you think.  Thus it does more than merely entertain.

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest is one of the little-known gems of the Periodicals collection, held at the Main library (ask for it at Periodicals desk – 3rd floor).  Elbert Hubbard, a famous and somewhat controversial figure of the time, wrote and published this title from 1895-1915.  Main Library holds the issues from 1901-1915.

The volumes are very small – about 6” tall and 4” wide. They include essays and epigrams penned by Hubbard as well as ads for the Essay by Elbert Hubbardproducts made by the Roycroft community.  Roycroft was a community of artisans that Hubbard founded – they spearheaded the Arts and Crafts movement in America.

Hubbard printed the magazine himself with a press he installed at Roycroft.  The Roycrofters also produced special editions of Hubbard’s books, other popular titles, and handmade furniture, leather and metal goods.

Hubbard was a larger than life character full of contradictions, espousing ideas like socialism and the free market at the same time. He wrote about philosophy, religion, politics, literature, business, self-improvement and more.  His style was humorous, irreverent, often arrogant and (in my opinion) a little bit kooky.  Hubbard toured America giving lectures in addition to publishing pamphlets, magazines and books.

In 1915 Hubbard and his wife died aboard the Lusitania.  This ended The Philistine’s run, but his son continued to run the Roycroft community for about 20 more years.

What’s Special About The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest?

W.W. Denslow, an artist at the Roycroft Community who went on to illustrate the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books, designed the “Seahorse” logo used in the magazine.

Epigram by Elbert Hubbard in The PhilistineEvery issue included epigrams written by Hubbard and printed in a decorative font with intricate borders.

Hubbard’s essays often skewered the leading literary figures of the day, attacking George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, William Dean Howells, and others with somewhat exaggerated criticism.

In March 1899, Hubbard published in The Philistine an inspirational 1500-word essay called “A Message to Garcia” that became extremely popular, eventually being reprinted over 9 million times.

Philistine War NumberThe January 1915 issue of The Philistine was about World War I (called “The War Number”), in which Hubbard strongly     opposed American involvement.

Tribute to Elbert HubbardThe final issue is a tribute to Elbert Hubbard and his wife, who died aboard the Lusitania.

To learn more about Elbert Hubbard, you can check out these items from Nashville Public Library:

Book Review: Liberace

By , January 20, 2013

Peaking past the candelabra, Wladzlu Valentino Liberace is soon to be celebrated in a new HBO movie starring Michael Douglas. That’s right, Michael Douglas. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh. Parts of the bio-pic were reportedly filmed in the over-the-top, glamorous, frozen in time, Hollywood home of Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Also coming this spring, is Liberace Extravaganza! This book is officially authorized by the Liberace estate. It promises 150 full color photographs of the performer’s costumes. Sketches and behind the scenes stories are also included.

In the meantime there are a few biographies to dust off. The wonderful private world of Liberace  by Liberace and Liberace : an American boy by Darden Asbury Pyron

Cue the soundtrack provided by Mr. Showmanship and his priceless piano. Download from Nashville Public Library’s Freegal collection.

”..and when the night is new, I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.”


Music Review: Fun.

By , January 12, 2013

Some Nights
By Fun.

Raise your hand if you like the title track to this album. Ok, let’s see…that’s 1…2…4…19…yes, I see you…456…9,689,231. (Man, a lot of people read this blog.) Make that 9,689,232 because I think this is my favorite album of the year.

I was a little late to the game finding Fun. – their upcoming concert at the Ryman was sold out before I even knew who they were. Sigh. They’ve gotten 6 Grammy nominations for this year – including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. Hopefully, they will perform so I’ll be able to see them play.

Personally, I think the band is kind of a modern day Queen. Their album has an almost operatic opening track. I would call this style Drama Pop. Take a listen…

Isn’t that fun? Some Nights is actually the band’s second album. I may go back and try to find their first, Aim and Ignite from 2009, but I have a feeling if we didn’t hear it then it might not be worth hearing. Time will tell.

Man, I love that drum line. Makes you want to check out the whole album, doesn’t it?

Happy listening…
:) Amanda

PS This album is not on freegal (sigh) but you can download a knock off version of Some Nights as well as the version heard on Glee, just FYI. Or you can get all three to compare and contrast. :)


Book review: New Picture Books

By , January 10, 2013

Abe Lincoln’s Dream
by Lane Smith

Lane Smith, fresh off of last year’s Caldecott Honor Award for Grandpa Green, delivers a sweet, quirky tale about Abe Lincoln’s ghost.  When touring the White House, a young girl named Quincy discovers Honest Abe by the Gettysburg Address.  After exchanging jokes, she takes him on her own tour to show him the nation’s progress since 1865.  Smith uses a muted palette, but infuses the illustrations and text with a life of their own.  Parents and adults will probably find more appeal in this book’s sentimentality, but 4-5 year olds will appreciate the silly jokes and relate to Quincy’s confidence and initiative.


I Have a Dream
by Martin Luther King, Jr. illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson’s evocative and bold oil painting illustrations are paired with Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in this picture book resulting in a powerful dedication to Dr. King. Similar to Abe Lincoln’s Dream, I think that adults will be moved by this book more than children, but I think that is the point of both of these wonderful books.  Young children, unlike adults, don’t need to be reminded that we are all equal.  However, Dr. King’s words are powerfully lyrical and when paired with Nelson’s beautiful illustrations, children don’t have to understand there is a message and history behind the words to enjoy the experience of sharing this book together.


Z is for Moose
by Kelly Bingham illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

And now for something completely different…Z is for Moose is a current favorite in our household.  I’m fairly certain my three-year-old finds this book hilarious because my husband and I really get into reading it aloud.  This book begins as your basic alphabet book with Zebra directing the show “A is for Apple, B is for Ball…” unfortunately; his friend Moose is a bit overeager for his turn. When things don’t go his way, Moose does not take it well.  Hilarity ensues.  Young children will appreciate this as a read-aloud, but independent readers will enjoy “getting” the joke on their own.


Oh, No!
by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Candace Fleming’s bouncy text tells the tale of a series of jungle animals who get trapped in a hole, facing the fate of becoming a tiger’s dinner…. “Oh, No!”  Illustrated by Eric Rohmann, using his characteristic relief-print style (which won him the Caldecott in 2003 for My Friend Rabbit) this book practically demands to be read aloud. And even the most rhythmically-challenged will find the cadence in the sing-songy repetition and onomatopoetic animal sounds.  A satisfyingly witty end round off this great picture book and put it on my short list of favorites for the year.


Beat Amanda!

By , January 8, 2013

So how many books did you read in 2012?

I read .

Can you beat me? Post the number of books you read in the comments. I love to hear from fellow readers.

We already did a Best of 2012 Podcast that you can hear here. But I do have a couple of other books I’d like to mention…

Longest Read: Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
What? It was only 1168 pages. That’s why it took me almost 4 months to finish.



Best Book Nashville Public Library Doesn’t Own (yeah Interlibrary Loan!): Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell
I know I work at the library and not a bookstore, but these customers seemed oddly familiar…


Best Series I Finally Got To Finish: The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (featuring Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance)
Yeah! I did it! I read all 2794 pages. And at least 1789 of them were really good. Woohoo!



Possibly the Worst Book I’ve Ever Read (Ever): One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell
This one was a tough category to pick the worst book because there were several to choose from (Looking at you J.K. Rowling). I just wanted to punch all these characters in the face. Ugh. Read it at your own risk – I’m warning you.


Ok, Nashville…let’s set our reading goals high for 2013. If you need recommendations to help get your numbers up that’s what the library’s here for.

150 books read in one year…here we come!

Happy reading…
:) Amanda

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