Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet a Book Blogger: Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files

Meet Tahleen! She blogs at Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files, and also collaborates on The Broke and the Bookish, too. She's this month's Meet a Book Blogger guest, so read on to find out how she started blogging, why she loves it, and what her favorite books are...

1. When did you start book blogging, and what was your motivation?

I started blogging this past summer, in June. I had been thinking about starting a blog for young adult and children's literature for a while, since I wanted to use it for professional development (I am at Simmons College studying library science with a focus in youth services). But what really got me going was collaborating on a blog started up by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner, called The Broke and the Bookish. Jamie is our moderator in the College Students group on GoodReads that I'm involved in, and she wanted to start a book blog with a bunch of us in the group. So we started up that one, and I started up mine. And here I am now.

2. How often do you post?

I try to post at least twice a week, but sometimes life gets hectic and I don't get to review things as often as I like. I feel accomplished when I do post that often though!

3. Which kinds of books do you like to review?

I review mostly young adult, middle grade and occasionally children's books. I also just posted my first movie review, of The Secret of Kells, a fictionalized story about the origin of the Book of Kells (and a fantastic film). I'll also review the occasional adult title if I feel it will appeal to teens.

4. Where do you get the books you review?

I work at a library, so that's where I get most of them. That said, I do own a TON of books already, since I also work at a Barnes & Noble, where I get most of the books I buy. And sometimes I'm lucky enough to be approached by publishers and authors who ask for a review, but that's not very often (but always exciting!).

5. Where do you find out about new books?

Mostly from other bloggers, but I also try to pay attention to Twitter and what publishers and authors are saying.

6. Do you read other book blogs? If so, which are your favorites?

I read a lot of other blogs, mostly YA ones, but I've got other genres in there too. I'll have to say one of my favorites is The Broke and the Bookish, not only because I collaborate on that one, but also because it's got the most diverse reading list out of all of the blogs I've seen, since there are so many reviewers. I also like April's Good Books & Good Wine, Steph Su Reads, and the always hilarious Forever Young Adult. I'd be here forever if I tried to mention all the ones I like to keep up on!

7. What’s one of your favorite books? How about the best book you’ve read in the past six months?

Oh, tough. MY favorites are probably To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, A Voice in the Wind by Kathryn Lasky, and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. All children's/young adult (except maybe TKAM, depending on who you talk to), but all ones that I NEVER get tired of rereading. As for the best book I've read in the past 6 months, I'm going to have to put two down: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Diamond Willow by Helen Frost. Both very different from each other, but both fantastic in their own ways. I've got reviews of both on my blog. :) (Links: Knife review; Diamond Willow review.)

8. What’s the most enjoyable part of book blogging? What’s the worst part? Do you blog about other topics too?

I love this community—that's probably the best part. Everyone I talk with is just great, and I get so many good suggestions. Plus it helps me keep up on what's going on. I love having people to talk with about books and reading, since not many of my friends I know face-to-face read as much as I do. The worst part is probably trying to figure out how to conduct myself and do things a certain way on my blog, like ratings and the like. I'm never sure if what I'm doing is the right thing as far as etiquette goes—but no one has complained to me yet, and hey, it's my blog. I'll occasionally blog about topics in the bookish world, especially about issues that have to do with libraries, or censorship.

9. Do you have an ereader? If so, do you like it? If not, do you want one someday?

I do have a nook, which I love. It's great to not have to carry a giant book if what I'm reading is hefty in real life (like Tolstoy's War and Peace, which, yes, I have actually started to read). I also love being able to take out digital books from the library and read books from NetGalley for free before they're published, like Lauren Oliver's Delirium. Not to mention I got a ton of free books (mostly classics) over the past months while I was waiting to get a nook.

10. What do you do when you’re not reading?

I work two part-time jobs, both bookish (library and bookstore), and I go to school part-time. I also spend time with family and my boyfriend when I can, sing in a small a cappella group, and am an assistant leader for my town's middle-school Girl Scout troop.

Thanks, Tahleen, and all the best with your studies! We're always thrilled to see YA-lit-loving librarians. (I especially liked your recent post about teen areas in libraries!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Toronto events for March!

Winter finally appears to be giving way to spring, so click here to check out our Spring 2011 list!

We've also got a few neat events to tell you about. On Wednesday, March 2 at 8 pm, the TIFF Bell Lightbox will be screening Life, Above All as part of their Human Rights Watch festival. This film premiered at Cannes last year, where it won a prestigious award and was highly praised by Roger Ebert--so if you're in Toronto, definitely go see it!

A week and a half later, on March 13, Fiona Smyth will be launching her dystopian graphic novel The Never Weres with This Is Not A Reading Series. RM Vaughan, art critic for the Globe and Mail, will be leading a discussion about her vivid career, and audience members of all ages are invited to grab Sharpies and doodle a panel for the event’s collective drawings/comics jam. Should be a fun time!

Details:Sunday, March 13
The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom
1214 Queen Street West
Doors open at 2 pm; event starts at 2:30 pm
Admission is $5 or free with book purchase

Click here to read a sample from The Never Weres. Hope to see you at the launch!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Books for Black History Month

February 14th may be Valentine's Day, but the entire month of February is Black History Month in Canada and the United States--so let me introduce you to some of our books set in Africa.

For Spring 2011, we're proud to announce a new book called Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations, by Bathseba Opini and Richard Lee. Readers are introduced to African inventions and discoveries from ancient times to today, including the xylophone, coffee, and the use of aloe vera to treat burns. Find out more by watching this book trailer:

Another great book set in Africa is Cry of the Giraffe by Judie Oron. Based on a true story, the book follows 15-year-old Wuditu, an Ethiopian Jewish girl who is separated from her family when they attempt to escape to Israel. Alone, she must find a way to survive by any means possible, while hiding her Jewish faith to avoid persecution.

Set in sub-Saharan Africa, Chanda's Secrets, by Allan Stratton, is a heart-breaking, powerful story about 16-year-old Chanda, who struggles to help her friends and family deal with the devastation and stigma of the AIDS epidemic. The book has won 25 awards and honors, and has also been adapted into an award-winning film called Life, Above All. Look for it in theatres this spring! (Bonus for teachers: click here to download a free comprehensive lesson plan!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Annick Goes to OLA

They came from all over the province of Ontario--public librarians, elementary school librarians, secondary school librarians and specialty librarians--to the annual convention of the OLA (Ontario Library Association) in Toronto. Despite the snow and cold outside, the mood was cheery and uplifting as hundreds of librarians checked out the publishers' exhibits.

Annick Press was delighted to have three of its authors signing books at the booth of its distributor, Firefly Books: Kevin Sylvester with Game Day, Judie Oron with Cry of the Giraffe and Sharon McKay with Thunder over Kandahar. The line-ups were long as people waited for the opportunity to meet the authors and get a personally signed copy of their books.

Kevin Sylvester signs GAME DAY
Judie Oron signs copies of CRY OF THE GIRAFFE
Kevin delighted people with his drawing of a cat or dog (their choice) in every copy. Judie answered many questions about how she came to write her book about her Ethiopian daughter, and Sharon was told over and over again how much all her books were loved by young people. It was wonderful to see and hear so many people who love books and want to instill their love of the written word in others. Thank you, librarians!

(Click here for more pictures of the event!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

This week ushered in the Year of the Rabbit. In honor of Chinese New Year, test your knowledge of Chinese inventions by taking our quiz! If you're stumped, you may need to check out The Chinese Thought of It. Or get some hints by watching this trailer:

Once you've brushed up on your Chinese history and culture, why not focus on this year's animal, the rabbit? (If you were born in 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, or 1999, this is your year!) I recommend How Do You Read to a Rabbit? And of course there's always The Velveteen Rabbit! But my favorite bunny is the one who brings me chocolate for Easter... how about you?