Wednesday, January 14, 2015

An Afternoon with Librarians

I always knew librarians were cool people, but never realized just how immensely cool they were until yesterday, when I went to an event at my local library called the Best Books of 2014.

Katie Jane Morris, who is an outreach librarian at the Hoover Public Library, gave a fantastic over view of staff picks for juvenile and teen fiction books of 2014. Librarians from the Birmingham area and local writers attended. What amazed me about Katie Jane was first how she categorized the books: scary books, animal books, serious books, funny books, etc.. She could pick up almost any book from the list and talk about the characters and the plot off the top of her head as if she had just finished reading the book that day. She confessed to reading about two to three hundred books per year and her enthusiasm for children's literature was absolutely infectious!

It was also interesting hearing about books from a librarian's perspective. When a teen book was discussed, librarians in the audience wanted to know which titles would be appropriate for older middle grade readers. Katie Jane talked about also how certain titles were shelved. For example, PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS by Rick Riordan is actually a non fiction title, but the library decides to keep it in the fiction section along Riordan's other books to make it easier for fans of his books to find.

What was really cool was when Katie Jane started talking about HALLEY, a novel by Faye Gibbons, and Ms. Gibbons was actually in the audience. Ms. Gibbons is such a sweet lady and I was honored to have had the opportunity to chat with her afterwards.

Here is a link to the list of Hoover Library Staff Picks of 2014 for juvenile and teen fiction. There are so many books on here that I hadn't even heard of, but sound like fabulous reads.

Here are some from the Juvenile list that I am looking forward to reading:

SPACE CASE by Stuart Gibbs
Dashiell Gibson, who lives on Moon Base Alpha, has to solve a murder of one of the moon's most prominent doctors.

TESLA'S ATTIC by Neal Shusterman & Eric Elfman
With a plot combining science and the supernatural, four kids are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor, Nikola Tesla

ICE DOGS by Terry Lynn Johnson
In this survival story set in Alaska, fourteen-year-old Vicky and her dog sled team find an injured sledder in the wilderness.

Here are some from the Teen list that I am looking forward to reading:

ILLUSIVE by Emily Lloyd-Jones
I actually won a copy of this as a door prize!
After a vaccine accidentally creates superpowers in a small percentage of the population, seventeen-year-old Ciere, an illusionist, teams up with a group of fellow high-class, super-powered thieves to steal the vaccine's formula while staying one step ahead of mobsters and deadly government agents.

JACKABY by William Ritter
Katie Jane couldn't stop talking about this one. She said this title was one of her favorite books from last year, which I think is saying a lot coming from someone who reads as many books as she does.

Newly arrive in 1892 England, Abigail Rook becomes assistant to R.F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with the ability to see supernatural beings, and she helps him delve into a case of serial murder which, Jackaby is convinced, is due to a nonhuman creature.

Hayley Kincaid and her father move back to their hometown to try a "normal" life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives.

There are so many other awesome titles on the list so I encourage you to check it out. And if you ever get the chance to spend an afternoon with a group of librarians-- DO IT. I had an amazing time.