Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Worth Reading: EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS by A.S. King

I usually don't like books when I can detect that the story is just about delivering some sort of a message.  EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS by A.S. King does have a powerful thread of anti-bullying that runs through it, but there is so much more to love about this book!

Lucky Linderman comes from a less than perfect family (don't we all?).  His father behaves like a turtle--always in his shell, and his mother is a squid--swimming laps all day instead of facing her problems.  His grandfather is a prisoner of war in Vietnam that was never brought home.  Lucky has his own problems too, like the bully that has been torturing him since he was seven when the kid peed on his feet and then got Lucky in trouble for it.

But this isn't just a simple story about a contemporary kid with bully problems.  Lucky dreams every night about rescuing his grandfather from the jungle, and the dreams actually start to get very real.  You almost get the sense that maybe he really is with his grandfather every night, which is really cool.

To me though, the best characters in the book are the ants.  After a particularly traumatic event with the bully, Lucky begins seeing these ants that provide commentary for the rest of the book.  They say the most hilarious and on point things that everyone thinks but it was so unexpectedly awesome to see them actually printed in a book.

All in all, whether you read it because of the message, or you read it just to enjoy an incredibly well written book, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS is a great choice!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Trailers

If you want to know whether or not you want watch a certain movie, you might watch some movie trailers to find out.  If you want to know whether or not you might like a book, you might Google it to find some reviews--great idea!  But, did you know you can watch some book trailers too? 

Book trailers work just like movie trailers.  They introduce just enough of the plot and characters in a way that makes you want to know more.  Some of them are made by the people who publish the books, but many of them are just made by young fans.  They can be really cool and are not all that hard to make. 

Basic programs like Windows MovieMaker and Animoto work well and it can be as simple as combining pictures with music or as elaborate as actually writing a script and filming a scene.  You just have to be careful that you don't use any copyrighted material. 

Here are some book trailers for books that are just in at the Dallas Public Library:



TEMPEST by Julie Cross


Want more?  Check out these other resources:

If you have made a book trailer that you want to see posted on this blog, send it to me: nora.nagel@dallascityhall.com.  Happy trailer watching!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Worth Reading: ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

I CONSUMED this book in less than 24 hours!  I stayed up much later than I should have and I am very sleepy now as a result.  But--not too sleepy to share with you why you should read this book.

Cas is a professional ghost hunter that moves around the world with his mom killing violent ghosts the same way his family has done for generations.  When he arrives in a sleepy Canadian town to kill Anna Dressed in Blood, everything feels different.  Cas tries to go on with business as usual, but other people get involved and things get complicated.  Also, Anna is by far the most powerful ghost that Cas has ever seen and he has to find out how she got that way before he can figure out how to defeat her, or even if he wants to...

Let me just say that no, I don't think that this book opened my horizons to a new way of thinking or will eventually find its way into classic literature.  I did learn a little bit about voodoo cultures, but mostly I was just highly entertained.  If you like a good ghost story and are not too squeamish when it comes to reading gory descriptions, I definitely recommend this book.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Find Money for College!

If you want to go to college next year, NOW is the time to get busy with financial aid!  The key to receiving the majority of financial aid out there is getting admitted to the schools you are interested in AND filling out the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as humanly possible. Many schools have priority deadlines in early March, meaning that it may be too late for some grants and scholarships if you apply any later.

What is the FAFSA?  The FAFSA is an online application that you fill out your household's 2011 tax information.  The information gathered by the FAFSA helps colleges determine what types of financial aid you qualify for.

Even if you would not describe yourself as "low income" and don't expect to qualify for much help, you might as well go ahead and complete a FAFSA anyway, because you just never know until you try.  Also, if you or your parents plan to use Federal student loans to pay for some or all of your college expenses, a FAFSA will be required. 

Want more information or even some help with your FAFSA?   You are in luck!  The Dallas Public Library Teen Center is introducing a brand new workshop for high school students where students and their parents will get in depth information about the kinds of financial aid out there and how to apply.  If you and your parents bring in your 2011 tax returns, you can even get in person assistance with filling out your FAFSA!!!  Click here for a complete list of things you need to have with you when you file your FAFSA.

You have seven different chances to get the help you need:

Audelia Road Library— 1/25  @5pm
Central Library--2/2  @10:30am
Pleasant Grove Library—2/8  @5pm
Dallas West Library—2/15  @5pm
Mountain Creek Library—2/18  @2pm
Hampton Illinois Library--2/25  @1pm
Skyline Library—3/1 @4:30pm

See you there!