"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Monday, 10-31-11. and I'm reading...

Sheila at Book Journey is the host of this meme.
Aloha from Hawaii where I alternate my reading location from poolside to beach-side.  It is a tough decision, which is best? Hmmm....

What I am reading-Divergent by Veronica Roth. A new dystopian novel by a first-time author. I am enjoying the drama more than the writing. One of the hottest books in my library this year.

What I recently completed- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. OMG I love this book...the storyline is new and fresh, the writing superb, the action is dramatic, the characters are unique and interesting, the setting vivid.  I also finished this week Entwined by Heather Dixon a dark, richly plotted retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." This book suffered from audiobook syndrome...it took too long "to read" in this format.

What I'm listening to- Flip by Martyn Bedford. A new twist on a old tale of body swapping. This one really poses a serious question, "What would you do if..." I'm actually not listening to this right now but will finish up the audiobook when I return home from vacation. When I complete it I will have completed my whole 2012 Mock Printz reading list.  Woot! Woot!

What is up next- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This book has been on my bedside table for at least three years. Ugh. Now it is an upcoming book club selection so I will finally have an excuse to finish it, though I am sure I will need to start from the beginning again. As a Pulitzer Prize winner I am sure it is well-done but I haven't heard wonderful reports from "the man on the street." Have any of you read it?  Your thoughts?  My goal is to have it half finished by the time I get home. Guess I'd better get reading!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Salon Hawaiian Style

Aloha from Hawaii! We arrived mid-day Friday. My husband has a conference this week and I tagged along. We are staying at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu. Heaven! 

I'm listening to: Flip by Martin Bedford. I will finish up with this thought-provoking story when we return on Wednesday.

I'm reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I have finally started this popular, dystopian novel after carrying the book around for weeks.

Book reviewed this week: 
-Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.  Loved, loved, loved it. A new favorite!
-Entwined by Heather Dixon. A retelling of the Grimm's Fairy Tale Twelve Dancing Princesses. Surprisingly dark and scary.

Scripture: Psalms 100:4-5 Give thanks with a grateful heart

Around the house:  Our home away from home. A view from our balcony.

From Karl's kitchen: Karl, a friend from college, made BBQ teriyaki beef, chicken, and ribs. He served it to us while we played on a white-sand beach.  Maholo, Karl, it was a special day.  And remember, you promised to send me the marinade recipe!

Off for some snorkeling! Aloha!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is a new favorite book. I am almost at a loss for words to describe how enthralled I am with it. But let me try.

"Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well." Those are the opening lines of this exquisitely written book, a book which really defies categorization. It is fantasy, adventure, romance, coming-of-age, mythology, with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. It contains all those elements of a good story that we crave: good verses evil, though it is never clear who is good and who is evil; forbidden love lost and found, then lost again; and strong characters within a vivid setting. I sighed as I closed the book on the last page wanting to live within it's world(s) longer than the 400 pages given to me here. Lucky for all of us there will be a sequel, though I didn't figure that out until the last page.  Oh yea, I forgot- the opening line warned me to beware, "It did not end well." This sets up the sequel perfectly.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not just a love story between a demon and an angel which is a oft told tale, but it is mainly the story of Karou, whose name means hope, a girl who needs to find herself, her roots, her people. In a lot of ways this 17-year-old art student in Prague seems like most other teenagers until she is called away to run an errand for foster father, Brimstone, by a crow with bats wings. The errands are all the same: to retrieve teeth from humans and animals collected by unscrupulous hunters.  Karou does not know what Brimstone does with the teeth.  In fact, she doesn't know much about her past. "Who is she? That is the question that haunts her and she's about to find out." (Book Jacket) At this point she meets Akiva, a gorgeous seraph, who is drawn to Karou as she is to him. Their love and attraction is both steamy and sweet, tender and fraught with problems.

"Karou’s first story ends with an anguished epiphany, the promise of a new adventure and, of course, what Emily Dickinson called 'the thing with feathers' and what Brimstone calls 'the real magic,' hopes," says Chelsea Philpot writing for the NYT Book Reviews. Indeed it is a story full of magic and hope.

Help yourself to the first five chapters by following the link below. Happy reading.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Friday Hops...Follow Friday...TGIF!

It's time to do the Friday Hops!  Hopefully new friends will be made along the way.  First up: Follow Friday hosted over at Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The idea is to visit new blogs and to follow (both directions!) In addition there are featured blogs every week.  The featured blogs this week are: In Which Ems Reviews Books and Reading in the Corner. Congratulations.  I am following!  Are you?

Now for the question of the week:

Q:  If you could have dinner with your favorite book character, who would you eat with and what would you serve?

Hmm...So many characters, so little time to dine.  I'd choose... Captain Corelli from Corelli's Mandolin because I want to learn to speak Italian and I want an excuse to make Eggplant Parmesan.  Silly reasons, but true!

TGIF at GReads
Question: Spooktacular Reads: Which books do you consider festive Halloween reads? Which stories have chilled you to the bone?

I am not much of a horror genre reader, nor am I a horror movie goer, for that matter.  But when I do read a book that has some sort of "spook" in it, I get very scared.  Case in point: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, the ghost in the closet/mist/garden had me terrified.

What's hot and what's not in the library now.

It's nearing the end of 1st quarter. Time to take a temperature check. What are students reading?

Our school asks each student to read a book during the summer and then they have an accountability activity once school starts up in the fall. The three books that they read are:
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld  (10th grade)
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (11th grade)
  • The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho (12th grade)
These three books are my highest circulating books, for obvious reasons.  Uglies and Hunger Games are the first books in a series.  All the books in these series are very popular here in the library.  That makes me happy.  Our summer assignment works if it gets students to read beyond the assignment.

What's hot...

The list below reflects the most popular books in the library that kids selected themselves.  I skipped over books that were part of an assignment.
  1. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld, #2 in Uglies series
  2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collin, #2 in Hunger Games series
  3. Specials by Scott Westerfeld, #3 in Uglies series
  4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, #3 in Hunger Games series
  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  7. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  8. Maze Runner by James Dashner
  9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I'm glad to see a classic on the list!
  10. Candor by Pam Bachorz, this was one of my top 20 summer books so I've promoted it.
  11. Extras by Scott Westerfeld, #4 in Uglies series
  12. Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
  13. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  14. The Power of Six by Pitticus Lore
  15. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
  16. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  17. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  18. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, my #1 summer read. I've been pushing it!
  19. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
  20. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  21. Deadline by Chris Crutcher, a Washington author!
  22. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, another Washington author!
  23. Paranormalcy by Keirsten White
  24. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Looking over the list I'd say that dystopian novels and realism are the hottest books in the library. 
The other thing that is hot in my library right now is my Mock Printz Workshop.  I have over 50 kids participating this year and the books we are reading are always checked out!  It is so cool. None of the 15 books on that list are reflected on this list because I considered them as part of an "assignment." My 2012 Mock Printz list is here.

What's not...
  • Books in a series. I've heard more kids complain about all the series they have to keep track of and how they are getting tired of them.
  • Paranormal Romances. Though we aren't quite done yet, I'd say that the paranormal romances aren't as hot as in years past.  Evidenced by the fact that the #3 book in the The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Forever, hasn't even cracked my top 25 books. And kids were crazy for that series last year.
  • My three-week due dates!  Kids groan about overdue books. What's a librarian to do?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

 "In the half-magical world of Eathesbury, Azalea is the oldest of 12 daughters and heir to her father's throne. When the sisters' mother dies after a long illness, the siblings find a hidden passageway to an enchanted pavilion under the castle where they can dance all night, secretly breaking the rules of mourning. The mysterious and alluring Keeper makes this possible, but he also seems to have less-than-honorable plans for the girls, especially Azalea."  -Booklist
One book two perspectives. My daughter and I both just finished reading the book Entwined by Heather Dixon. Our reading experiences with the book were very different. I started out listening to the audio version which meant 10 CD's and over 12 hours of recordings.  I usually listen to around 50-60 minutes worth of story per day during my daily commute. If you do the math you'd know that this book would take me around two and half weeks to complete. I shortened up the time near the end because I would read the print version when I wasn't in the car. But it still took me over two weeks to complete. My daughter, on the other hand, picked up the print version of the book before I was even done with it and read the whole book in one day, cover to cover. One book two perspectives.

My perspective:  Entwined is based on the Grimm's Fairy Tale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", a fairy tale with which I am unfamiliar. There were many aspects of the story that I found quite fun and compelling. I especially liked the interaction between sisters and the descriptions of their many dances. I thought the dark, brooding atmosphere in of the castle and the plot line added suspense to this Gothic novel. What I didn't like, however, was how slowly the drama unfolded. The book seemed to plod along. The girls got up, ate porridge, had boring lessons, snuck off to dance in the basement where they'd wreck their shoes. Repeat. I also didn't like how Azelea repeatedly got angry, had a fit, and then fainted. At times it felt tedious and mundane, while other times the action was quite intense. That said, I'm guessing that the length of the audiobook contributed to my sense that the story crept along.

Rita's perspective: While the story began a bit slow, with a whiny princess as the "heroine," I quickly began to fall in love with the book. Princess Azalea and her mother both talk about the power of dancing, which is something I find compelling being a dancer myself. To top things off, the story is not all ballgowns and princesses, but full of dark, nightmare-inducing magic of the worst sort. I could not put the book down for fear that the princesses would not make it through to their happy ending. I will admit that I am a hopeless romantic, and grew up wishing that someday I could be a Disney princess, so this book was just up my alley. I have to say that the author is very clever for taking a simple fairy tale and turning it into a novel full of dark magic, interesting twists, and a satisfying ending.

Guess you'll have to read it yourself and then share your perspective below.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Creepy" books to read at Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday: Hosted at The Broke and Bookish

I don't read many books in the horror genre because I am easily scared by them. But occasionally I end up reading a book that probably wouldn't scare the average reader but it seems to give me the chills.  Here's that list:

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
3. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
5. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
6. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
7. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
8. Entwined by Heather Dixon
9. Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
10. The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe
11. The Legend of Sleep Hollow by Washington Irving
12. Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

I know, I know.  This list is laughable if anyone is really looking for a good list of horror fiction.  Sorry.  I recognize that most of these tales aren't even classified as horror books/stories.  Oh well.  I enjoyed them and can recommend them with my limited familiarity of this genre.

"Truthiness" in schools

Can you believe this? The term "truthiness", coined by the comedian Stephen Colbert, has actually made it into dictionary.com. Here is the definition for truthiness:
truth·i·ness [troo-thee-nis]
1. the quality of seeming to be true according to one's intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like: the growing trend of truthiness as opposed to truth.
2. informal (of a belief) the quality of being considered true because of what the believer wishes or feels regardless of the facts.
I suppose that we operate, to some degree, with a bit of "truthiness"...believing something to be true just because it feels like it should be true. But it is starting to be quite alarming what some people believe and what they base their beliefs on these days.

Is there no one standing up for actual facts and reason? Enter the trusty librarian. Mark Ray, the 2011 Washington State Teacher of the Year is a Teacher-Librarian in Skyview High School in Vancouver, Washington. He wrote an excellent editorial about the importance of librarians today with so much "truthiness" around to combat.  Here are a few of the highlights from the editorial but I urge you to pop over to the Seattle Times link and read the whole thing for yourself,
  • "As a teacher librarian, my job is to ensure that students are effective users and producers of information and ideas."
  • "In this 21st century, we consume information by turning to a screen instead of a newspaper or book. In the past, we could go to the library and find materials that were likely to be accurate or at least balanced. While I'm not advocating a return to a time when libraries or books were the only place to go for information, I'm also sure that "The Google" is not a library. Today, we must make decisions about bias, currency and accuracy ourselves. Many students struggle with that."
  • "Getting to the truth has never been harder than it is today. The loss of libraries, teacher librarians and the ascendance of truthiness fundamentally hurts our nation. We are losing the expertise, resources and skills necessary to be informed voters and citizens."
I'm with Mark Ray, I believe that we need more librarians to help students navigate the plethora of information out there so that less decisions are based on "truthiness" and more are based on facts!

If you are with me, thank a teacher-librarian you know today!

Ray, Mark. "Opinion | Save the Children by Fighting 'truthiness' | Seattle Times Newspaper." The Seattle Times | Seattle  Times Newspaper. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. .

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Salon, 10-23-11

Special Event of the week:
  • My hubby and I jet to Hawai'i on Friday for a quick five-day sunny vacation/conference. I am busy planning my reading material for the trip.
  • Parent's Week-end at Seattle University.  We went to my daughter's choir concert on Friday night. They sang a varied program in an effort to promote their new CDs. I love it that my daughter is still involved in music after a very musical high school experience. Saturday was a hosted dinner with the entertainment being The Coats, a NW favorite a cappella group. Check out the link.
I'm listening to: Entwined by Heather Dixon. The retelling of Grimm's 12 dancing Princesses fairy tale.

I'm reading: Entwined by Heather Dixon. (Yup, the same book.) I jump back and forth between listening and reading so that I can finish the book sooner.

Book reviewed this week:  Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King.  Loved, loved it.  Will it be another winner for Ms. King?  I think so.

Scripture lesson in church: Acts 8:24-40--- "Let's go down and be baptized right now."

Around the house:  The trees in the backyard are displaying their fall colors gorgeously! The yellows and reds are really brilliant this year.

From the kitchen: Went to a taste-testing at the caterer for my daughter's wedding. We enjoyed everything about the experience, especially the tasty hors d'oeuvres. (My favorite: Gorgonzola and pistachio rounds.) We signed on the dotted line.  Evey week a few more things are crossed off the wedding planning list.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Follow Friday

Hosted by Alisoncanread and Parajunkee
Featured blog of the week: The Bursting Bookshelf.  Lovely blog.  Congratulations!

Q.What superhero is your alter-ego?

I totally want to be Elastigirl (Mrs. Incredible). I'd love to have those stretchy arms to reach things or to glide if I fell from a high place. Plus I like the "i" on her uniform.  In my world "i" stands for Information!

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

I am now officially a fan of A.S. King! Please Ignore Vera Dietz, her second YA novel that won a Printz Honor, was no fluke.  Ms. King can write as she proved again with this gem, Everybody Sees the Ants.

Admittedly, the book is designed in such a way that it really is confusing in the beginning. But I urge readers to stay with the story and all the pieces will come together in a very powerful way. Unfortunately this story is one that needs to be told.

Lucky Linderman is a teen who really has a "sucky" life. He has been harassed for years by the school bully. His mother spends all her time swimming like a squid. His father is a workaholic. All his friends dropped him after his Social Studies questionnaire on suicide which got him in trouble in school. And his grandmother charged Lucky to find his grandfather, a MIA/POW Vietnam veteran, right before she dies. Lucky seems powerless to take control of anything in his life and it seems like nothing will every get better.

Then things do change. Nolan, the big bully, goes one step too far and finally Lucky's mom is activated to do something...She takes Lucky to Arizona for a "time out." Finally Lucky seems to find his voice and in the process starts to like himself and his family. He does this with help from a local girl and those "odd" dreams of his grandfather.

Though this story sounds very depressing it has some very lighthearted moments, many of them humorous. It is also contains an important message...bullying has consequences and bullies must be stopped. It also shows the reader that help doesn't always come from where we think it should. We can help others just by listening and being present.

I found myself cheering for Lucky and for all kids who are the bottom of  the "food chain." As I read I thought of several kids and teachers who would benefit from reading Everybody Sees the Ants. You see, last year a student at my school committed suicide. Afterwards it came to light that the young man had been the recipient of severe harassment and bullying. Those of us in education know that we have to do what we can to make school a safe place for everybody, every day.

“It’s a smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies the idea that “It Gets Better”—when you take action.” --Publishers Weekly (starred)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top Ten Titles and Covers

Book titles and covers that "made" me buy/pick up the book. (That doesn't mean I have necessarily read them, though.)
Top Ten Tuesday is Hosted by the gals over at The Broke and Bookish

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Who doesn't want to read a book that has the word circumnavigated in the title?

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
I feel like this quite often.  Don't you?

How Not to be Popular by Jennifer Zeigler
I think both the title and the cover are funny.

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson
When I received this book in the mail I actually thought someone had scribbled on the cover before sending it to me.

You're Only Old Once: a Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss
A lot of Dr. Seuss books could be on this list. This title struck me as funny when I purchased it a few years back.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
This is the only book on the list that I actually purchased because of the cover. It's lovely.

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
I had to buy this book.  How could Jane Austen wreck anything?

Dogzilla by Dav Pilkey
Actually my sister was the one who bought this book.  But isn't the title compelling?

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
One of my students checked this out because she is such a huge Wuthering Heights fan. Ha!

Unexpectedly Eighty by Judith Viorst
I found this book during the Borders end days (sigh) and gave it to my dad who is eighty. He and my mom love it.

Monday, Oct. 17, 2011...I'm reading

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

I'm reading:
  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King---a young teenager has been bullied for seven years by another classmate, Nolan. He escapes from his daily life by daydreaming about his grandfather who is a POW/MIA Vietnam Vet. Or is he daydreaming? And why are these little ants always talking to him?
I'm listening to:
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey---if you didn't know who about this comedian before, I'm sure you do now after the 2008 Presidential Campaign when she burst on the scene doing a parody of Sarah Palin on SNL. Now the you will recognize her due to her TV show, Thirty Rock.  This book is very funny. Tina Fey reads it herself.
  • Entwined by Heather Dixon---a retelling of the Grimms' fairy tale, Twelve Dancing Princesses. I find myself thinking of the story when I am not listening and I look forward to getting back in my car so I can continue the tale.
I recently finished:
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.  Don't you just love the title?  Check out my review.
  • Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams. A touching story about a refugee boy in South Africa who finds redemption in soccer. This book is both depressing and hopeful. Review coming soon.
  • Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard---Alex finds both his writing and his poetic voice after the death of a friend, Thomas. This is a beautifully told coming-of-age story. Check out my review.
What's up next?
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth---For some reason I keep putting this off. I will start this book this week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Salon 10-16-11

Special Event of the week: Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) spoke at my parent's church this morning. She is an advocate against the death penalty. Her talk was passionate, inspiring, and convicting. I am a great admirer of her ministry and her efforts on behalf of loving compassion and forgiveness.

I'm listening to: Bossypants by Tina Fey.  She is very, very funny and I am enjoying this book in the audio format. My husband I and listened together on our trip to Oregon for the football game this week-end.

I'm reading: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King. I have NO IDEA where this story is going. I am enjoying it though.

Book reviewed this week: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente; Karma by Cathy Ostlere; Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Scripture lesson in church: Micah 6:8- What does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.

Around the house:  We drove to Eugene this week-end and attended an Oregon Duck football game.  This is one of the most fun things that my family does together.

From the kitchen: My sister made the most delicious olive and mushroom quiche with Swiss cheese. Yum! I must get the recipe.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making

I finished reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente on Monday. Since that time I have tried to figure out how to write this review. How does one write a word of criticism or evaluation of the most creative book that she has read in years? Think of a mash-up between The Wizard of Oz, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia, and His Dark Materials trilogy and you will get a little idea of what this book is like.

With the comparisons to those well-known books, it also begs the question, what makes a book into a classic? I suspect that it has something to do with cross-over appeal to all age groups. Marketed to middle-grade students, this book will delight all age groups. I'd also say that classics are those novels which prove to have an influence over novels to come.  Time will tell if Fairyland will influence future books, but I suspect that it will. Using my divination powers I predict, if it hasn't happened yet, teachers will be reading this book aloud to the delight of their students soon.  Here are a few other things you should know about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making:
  •  The author Catherynne M. Valente has a fabulous website. I really appreciate her FAQ sections where she answers questions about the writing/publishing process.
  • Valente offered the first eight chapters of Fairyland FREE. Read them here.
  • The winner of the 2010 Andre Norton Award (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America  for excellent Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.) Fairyland won this award while it was only available in the e-book format.  That has to be a first!
Since you can read the first eight chapters right now, let me leave you with a very tantalizing quote from the end of the book which does a lovely job setting up a sequel:
 "All stories must end so, with the next tale winking out of the corners of the last pages, promising more, promising moonlight and dancing and revels, if only you will come back when spring comes again."
I'll be back which "spring comes again", will you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 National Book Award Finalists Announced today....

The National Book Award Committee announced their finalists today. The winners will be announced on November 16th. So stay tuned.

Here are the finalists for the Young People's Literature category:

-My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson, published by Marshall Cavendish Corp.
-Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, published by HarperCollins
-Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and its Legacy by Albert Marrin, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
-Shine by Lauren Myracle, published by Amulet Books
-Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, published by Clarion Books
-Chime by Franny Billingsley, published by Dial

Looking over the list I'd say that Chime, My Name is Not Easy, and Shine are YA novels; Inside Out and Back Again, and Okay for Now are for middle-grade readers; and Flesh and Blood so Cheap is nonfiction that would probably be suitable for grades 5 and up. I'll be eager to see which book wins. Last year Ship Breaker by Bacigalupi won both the National Book Award and the Printz Award, but that is rare.  Often the books on the two lists are completely different. If this year is like last year, I want Chime to win because a) it is the only one on my Mock Printz list and b) I've read it! (How's that for deep reasoning?)

Here is the whole list: National Book Award Finalists (LA Times) and National Book Award.

*****Update 10/17/11- I just learned that the National Book Award committee mistakenly announced that Shine by Lauren Myracle was a finalist, but they really meant to say Chime. Shine--Chime.  I get it that they sound alike but that is a terrible mistake to make.  Read more about this colossal mistake here.

Here is the announcement for the NBA Committee: "The National Book Foundation regrets that an error was made in the original announcement of the Finalists for the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and apologizes for any confusion and hurt it may have caused Lauren Myracle. At her suggestion, we will be pleased to make a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in her name"