MaleMonday: Truth or Dare

In all the searching for books boys will like to read, there is one fact that is often over looked: Boys prefer non-fiction.

Sure, boys will read fiction. They are fans of books about adventure and monsters and murder and fantasy and yes, vampires. But given the opportunity to make their own selection, most boys will choose comic books (yea, these are fiction, but they’re something most teachers are reluctant to let students read), magazines, newspapers, biographies, books of records and histories.

Nonfictions that have been popular in my library:

Shooting Stars by LeBron James

No choirboy: murder, violence and teenagers on deathrow by Susan Kuklin

Always Running: La vida loca: Gang days in L.A. by Luis Rodriguez

Cooked: from the streets to the stove, from cocaine to foie gras by Jeff Hederson

Graffiti world: Street art from five continents by Nicholas Ganz

Subway art by Martha Cooper

In the paint: tattoos of the NBA and the stories behind them by Andrew Gottlieb

American Shaolin: flying kicks, buddhist monks, and the legend of iron crotch: an odyssey in the new China by Polly Matthew

I ain’t scared of you: Bernie Mac on how life is by Bernie Mac

Life in Prison by Stanley Tookie Williams

American Dream: three women, ten kids, and a nation’s drive to end welfare by Jason DeParle

Getting away with murder the true story of Emmett Till by Chris Crowe

Dragon Ball Z kidding! Just making sure you’re still with me! My boys love manga and biographies about any contemporary basketball and football players, as well as Michael Jordan and Reggie Williams. This is Indiana, after all!

I found many of these non fiction titles on the YALSA list for reluctant readers, others I just got lucky and stumbled across

Book Review: Miracle’s Boys

Miracle’s Boys
author: Jacqueline Woodson
date: Puffin Books; 2000
main character: Lafayette Miguel Bailey

Miracle’s Boys is the story of three brothers seeking to find their own identity while struggling to be family. The boys’ parents are deceased and the oldest, Ty’ree, gives up dreams of college to work and keep the family together. Charles was in a juvenile home when his mom died and he is nursing anger and bitterness. Lafayette, the story’s narrator, sees a terrible change in his brother after he returned home and calls him “Newcharlie”. The boys must work through emotion filled memories of the past to begin living in the present.
Woodson creates strong, real characters whose pain is palpable. Her storytelling skills smoothly transport us back and forth in time, weaving a rich story in a very thin book. Milagro (Spanish for ‘miracle’) was the boy’s mother who taught them  many valuable lessons before she died.

Listen to this, Lafayette. Mama said.

I was flipping through the pages of a comic book. I was probably eight or nine, and it was dark outside. Too dark for me to be out but not for Ty’ree and Charlie. So I was sitting there being a little bit mad, sitting right near her but not really caring about what she had to say.

The function of freedom”, Mama read, “is to free someone else.

I shrugged and went back to my comic book.

You ever though about that, Laf? Mama asked me. That being free means you help somebody else get free?

I shook my head.

She put her book down.

Why not?

Cause I ain’t free.

Mama looked at me and frowned.

Well, I’m not, I said. If I was free, then I’d be able to go outside like Ty’ree and Charlie.

Then Mama laughed. But I didn’t see what was so funny about the truth.


Review copy from my school library.


Regulars here know that on Mondays, I’ve been using Ari’s Male Monday meme. I think I’m going to alternate that with a meme I used a long time ago, UnderCoverMondays. I simply take a quick look inside a book or two that I may not get a chance to read or review.

On Thursdays, I occasionally post CrossingBorders. My first post was adult POC books that cross into the teen spectrum. I can see posts coming on books with a diverse cast of characters, characters who literally cross borders, adult POC authors crossing to YA and moving POC YA books out of stories based solely upon racial experiences.

I think a rhythm will keep me posting and if I keep posting, you’ll keep coming back!

One routine I have in real live in baking holiday cookies with my sister. We sip on cocktails while we bake the night away.  We’ve done mimosas, hot buttered rum and blackberry kir. Cookies are typically butter, chocolate chip, peanut butter with chocolate kisses and butterballs.

We need recipes for new cookies and for a great holiday drink! Could you please share a link or a recipe in the comment section?  If I get enough recipes (>5) I’ll select a couple of lucky readers to send a box of goodies!


Typically, after a chance to pull back from work, re-group and rest up I find myself on Sunday morning either stimulated physically or intellectually. Last week, it was physical. I was able to accept this sinus stuff as my new norm and I did fall cleaning with vim and vigor and even fit in a visit to the gym.

Today, it’s intellectual. I’ve been online for four five hours now, collecting information on, tweeting and visiting discussions on Linkedin. I received a very interested email from AIME in which tech guru Joyce Kasman Valenza creates a manifesto for 21st century librarians. I like that this listing validates many of the changes I’ve tried to implement while challenging me to do more. I wish I had the energy to compel my district to break down the tech barriers they create for our students, thus intensifying the digital divide, but I don’t. I don’t even know that I have the intellectual energy to create ways to jump over those barriers.

Having a three day weekend in front of me is energizing in and of itself! Should be a good week to get in extra gym visits and get a few more Cybil nonfiction nominees read.

Is it just me, or are the year end book lists a lot more popular than usual this year? No point re-hashing them here, they’re everywhere. I’ve considered doing a list of my own favorites, and may do so later. Or not. What’s useful for me right now is deciding my Christmas gift list. When my children were younger and were invited to birthday parties, we would only give books as presents. (One more sign I was meant to be a librarian.) I’m finding that now, even with adult friends, I’m very likely to give books as gifts. Books, however, can be an intensely personal gift. They should reflect how well we know someone’s interests or tastes and not just what we’ve read and enjoyed. Well, not always!

So, what would I give my children?

I think I know my youngest son’s reading tastes the least as we don’t often get the chance to discuss his taste in books. From his spiritual, political and intellectual interests combined with his love of country… it’s a real challenge! I think I’d give him

Never Drank the Koolaid by Toure

The Essential Noam Chomsky

Surf Mules by G. Neri

Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder and maybe even Westerfeld’s Leviathan series

My daughter? Can I just give her a barrel of books?? I love that my children love to read and continually want ‘to know’!!

Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo

For Color Girls Who Have Considered Suiced/Whe nthe Rainbow is Enuf by Ntzake Shange

Before you Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans

Sister Outsider by Audre Lourde

My oldest son? He’s read two of my very all time favorites and loved them. He’s gotten the best of the best from me and has to have high expectations.

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

Brown:The Last Discovery of America by Richard Rodriguez

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

and I’d have to throw in the Monster Blood Tattoo series for good measure!

I’d give my teachers

Pull by B. A. Binns so that they begin to realize that although our students have a lot going on, they’re not all thugs, or thug wannabees.

And I’ve give them the link to 20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web. We won’t create 21st century learners unless teachers develop the skills to teach them. This FREE online book does a wonderful job of building background information for the informed and even providing good background information to people like me who just do stuff on the ‘net without taking the time to get the basics.

What books would you like to be given? What books will you be thankful to have time to read this week?

ALA Scholarship

A new scholarship opportunity is available to American Indians and Alaska Natives who want to earn a fully online ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. The Circle of Learning program is offered through a partnership between the San Jose School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA), and is made possible by a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Current SLIS students as well as prospective students who plan to apply for admission to the School’s MLIS program for the Fall 2011 semester are eligible for Circle of Learning scholarships.

Please note that Circle of Learning students need to be admitted to the School’s MLIS program before being considered for scholarship funding. Applications are being accepted now through March 31, 2011 for admission to San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science for Fall 2011. Fall classes begin August 24, 2011.

For more information about how to apply to the School’s fully online MLIS program, please visit:

Students interested in applying for Circle of Learning scholarships should take note of upcoming scholarship application deadlines. The Fall 2011 deadline to apply for Circle of Learning scholarships is March 25, 2011.

Details regarding eligibility and application materials are available on the project website at We also invite you to contact Heather Devine, the Circle of Learning Project Manager, at Heather would be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have regarding this scholarship opportunity.

To learn more about the American Indian Library Association and its initiatives to improve library and information services for American Indians, visit

my source for this information

Nominate Now for the Zora Neale Hurston Award

Nominations being accepted for Zora Neale Hurston Award

The Zora Neale Hurston Award from RUSA/CODES honors people who have demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature through projects such as a program, display, collection building efforts, a special readers’ advisory focus, or innovation in service.

The winner will receive $1,250 in funds to attend the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the Literary Tastes breakfast and the FOLUSA Author tea, and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial.

To nominate yourself or someone you know, please download the nomination form at

In addition to the form you need to send the following:

  • A nomination letter that describes the project
  • Photos, booklists, screen captures, or other forms of illustration of the project
  • A brief essay—approximately 250 words—explaining how attending the ALA Annual Conference will help further the nominee’s efforts to support and promote African American literature.

– The deadline for nominations is December 15th. –

You can email use regular mail, email, or fax to send the nomination packet to Cynthia Crosser, chair, Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee

Cynthia Crosser
Social Science and Humanities Reference Librarian
5729 Raymond H. Foger Library
Orono, ME 04469-5729
Voice: (207) 581-3612
Fax: (207) 581-1653.

New YALSA Journal

The Young Adult Library Services Association launched the inaugural issue of its open-access, peer-reviewed electronic research journal, the Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults at The journal will be published quarterly beginning in November 2010, with issues following in February, May and August.

The first issue highlights paper presentations from YALSA’s Young Adult Literature Symposium, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nov. 5-7 with a theme of Diversity, Literature and Teens: Beyond Good Intentions. The papers in the issue are:

The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults disseminates research of interest to librarians, library workers and academics who focus on library service to young adults, ages 12 through 18. It will also serve as the official research publication of the association, publishing annotated lists of recent research from YALSA’s Research Committee, Henne Award–winning research and papers from YALSA’s biennial Young Adult Literature Symposium.

Those interested in submitting a paper to JRLYA for future issues should contact the editor Author guidelines and more information can be found at