Category Archives: Site News

My first review published!

Exciting news:  since the summer I have been reading and reviewing books for VOYA magazine (Voice of Youth Advocates), and my first review has been published in the February issue.

VOYA is an excellent resource for anyone who works with books and/or teens, particularly educators, but parents who would like to get a clearer idea of what their teens are reading and what is being published for teens will find a great deal here too.

A digital copy of the latest issue may be downloaded from the magazine’s homepage.  (In case you’re just dying to read it, my review of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe starts on page 67.)



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February 2011 Wrap-Up

Ever since I started library school I’ve been maintaining my own card catalog system.  When I finish reading a book I fill out an index card with pertinent information:  bibliographic stuff, characters, plot, and notations about content.

Originally I meant for my catalog to simply help me keep track everything I read but now I use these notes to write the reviews that I post here.

The thing is that since I read like I breathe, I fill out way more cards than I actually write reviews.  So for the past year, since I started this blog, I tend to get down on myself for not writing.

Now I’m thinking that I need to shift my perspective, change up the way I do some things, and give myself a break.

For school each week my daughter writes out a list of 15 books that she’s read or had read to her each week and the librarian gives her a sticker.  And my daughter always is so proud of her list and her sticker.

I need to be delighted like that, so I made my own list (I haven’t reviewed any of these so the links go to

In February I read:

For Emergent Readers:

The Trouble with Chickens:  A J.J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin with illustrations by Kevin Cornell

Ruby Lu Star of the Show by Lenore Look with illustrations by Stef Choi


For Middle-grade/Tween Readers:

Lost and Found by Shaun Tan

Samurai Kids Book Two:  Owl Ninja by Sandy Fussell with illustrations by Rhian Nest James

Pizzicato:  The Abduction of the Magic Violin by Rusalka Reh (Translation by David Henry Wilson)

Luv Ya Bunches:  A Flower Power Book by Lauren Myracle

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs


Young Adult Fiction:

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Taking Off by Jenny Moss

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Stringz by Michael Wenberg

Orchards by Holly Thompson

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell


Adult Fiction:

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan



The 14th Dalai Lama:  A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai


Total Pages Read: 5238
Total Books Read: 20

These totals do not include reading I’ve done for grad school.  Maybe next month I’ll total up all the pages of journal articles too so I can really feel good about myself.

My sticker will be this–a picture of the reading trophy I earned circa 1985 for reading one hundred books and being a Kindergarten Super Reader.


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Happy Birthday to My Blog (with presents for YOU)!

When I started this blog a year ago with a post about Reading Diaries,  I was living on the other side of the country, taking care of my daughter while my husband was away, and getting ready for our big move.  We’ve now been in our new home for almost nine months and New Chapters contine to be written in the book of my life.

This year my goal for this blog is to add reviews of 50 more titles.  Since I only actively blogged for a few months last year, I’m hopeful I can accomplish my goal.  In between reviews I’ll share my reflections as I read and research my way through marriage, motherhood and grad school.

Now what’s a birthday without presents?

I came home from ALA Midwinter with a trunkful of books but my bookshelves are already at max capacity and, alas, there’s only so much reading I can humanly do.  So I am offering up some titles for my fellow bibliophiles.  For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting a title or two (or three) and the first person to email me will score a free book or ARC.  Limit one book per person per week.

My email address is joannalima911(at)gmail(dot)com.  Please put the title of the book in the subject line.  I’ll update the post when all the titles have been claimed.

Let’s get started!

Anyone job hunting?  I have a copy of Cover Letters for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy that has been signed by the author!  It could be a great addition to a high school or public library collection, or simply a good resource.

Also signed by the author:  Immortal Champion, the third installment of Lisa Hendrix’s Immortal Brotherhood series.  “He faces a future of cold uncertainy, until her warm embrace…”  Check out the author’s website to learn more.

And lastly (for today) an advance reading copy (ARC) of Little Princes:  One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal.  Fans of Three Cups of Tea will enjoy this moving memoir by Connor Grennan.  ***UPDATE:  This title has been claimed.  Thanks to everyone who asked about it!***

Good luck & happy reading!  Check back on Fridays for more giveaways.  Later this week—a few YA ARCS.


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MLISing in Action

Borrowing a colleague’s clever phrase , I apologize for having been “MLISing in Action” for four months.  I didn’t intend to disappear like that, but between adjusting after our move and grad school and my amazing procrastination skills…well, clearly this blog plummeted to the bottom of my priority list.

Though I wasn’t posting, I was reading.  In fact, over the summer, I was reading about reading and I learned some incredible things about literacy and emergent readers.

For example, from Mary Anne Wolf’s fascinating exploration of the neuroscience of reading, Proust and the Squid, I was shocked to learn of the disparity between linguistically affluent and impoverished environments: “In some environments the average young middle class child hears 32 million more spoken words than the underprivileged child by age 5.” Additionally, the average underprivileged child has access to zero age-appropriate books while the affluent counterpart has access to 200. For many children, schools and professional educators do not enter the picture of early literacy until Kindergarten (age 5), at the end of the stage (ages 2-5) at which a child is capable of learning 2-4 new words per day. This means that parents truly are the primary educators of their children when it comes to laying the groundwork for learning to read.

Today happens to be the kickoff day for Jumpstart’s year-long Read for the Record campaign to support preschool children in low-income neighborhoods and prepare them for success in school and life.  By reading The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats today, you & your child can be counted toward a world record.  Click here to read the book online & confirm your participation.

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.  The folks at Reading Rockets have a wealth of information here.  I love this video in which children’s author Patricia Polacco shares her own moving struggle with dyslexia.

This month also happens to be National Book Month, sponsored by the National Book Foundation.  Next week, the 2010 National Book Award Finalists will be announced.  I’m embarrassed to admit that of all the National Book Award winners listed here, I’ve read three:  Outside, Over There by Maurice Sendak, Holes by Louis Sachar, and Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary.  Perhaps I’ll make a point to read at least one of the titles announced on 10/13.

And to round out this very literary month, Teen Read Week,  sponsored by YALSA, is happening October 17-23.

What are you currently reading?


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New Chapters

Hello there!  I’m back from my hiatus, though–truth be told–I’m not completely settled in my new home.  For one thing, the bookshelves have a new configuration.  I preferred the old way, but that might just be me disliking change.  Also, the books are on the shelves, but I haven’t gotten a chance to properly arrange them according to my loose interpretation of the Dewey Decimal System.  I’m considering alphabetizing this time too.
Despite all the packing and unpacking, I managed to read 14 books and I just finished making updates to Currently Reading.  What I haven’t done much of in the past few weeks is write, so I am hoping to complete a number of reviews very soon.  I’ll also be sharing summer projects I have in the works, all of which relate to the new chapters that I’m beginning in my life.
My summer reading list is short right now, so if you have any suggestions, please share.  I’m particularly interested in good beach reads, since I will actually be able to read at the beach this summer!


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The Merry Month of May

This is my rudimentary database—the card catalog I started about a year and a half ago to keep track of all the books I read.  It, along with my computer, my books, and the rest of my household, will be packed up and transported from the east coast to the west this month.

In a rare fit of productivity, I arranged for some moving to take place on my blog while I’m moving across the country.  Entries from my young adult database will be moving over here.  I hope you’ll make them feel welcome by checking out some of these great titles. 

When I’m settled, I’ll fill you in on the summer reading program I’ve designed for myself.  I can’t wait to get started on it.

For now, happy reading!

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Tikkun March/April 2010

Click the image to link to the issue’s Table of Contents.

I’ve spent much of my reading time in the past week absorbed in the most recent issue of this magazine.  I encountered it through this blog post from the Children’s Literature department at San Diego State University.    The post was an announcement about a phone interview with Graeme Wend-Walker, a children’s literature professor who focuses on themes of science and spirituality.

So just in time for Holy Week and Passover, I find myself swimming in a sea of theological, spiritual and political thought. 

For the next week or so I’ll be reflecting on some of the articles, sharing the questions they raise, and asking for your thoughts.

About Tikkun
TIKKUN Magazine is a bimonthly critique of politics, culture and society, published six times annually. For the past twenty years, Tikkun has been the pre-eminent North American publisher of analytical articles on Israel/Palestine, Jewish  culture, and the intersection of religion and politics in the United States.

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Coming Attractions

For me, February has flown by!  I’m a bit intimidated by all I have on my plate for March, so I’m taking a few days to clear my head and fine tune the posts I have planned.  Between Read Across America Day and Women’s History Month, there’s a wealth of reading and reading-related things to talk about.  See you next week with a series on Seuss!

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