Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Our Favorite Books of 2017!

We've read some great books this year in the GMPL Children's Department and want to share with you some of our favorites. Click the title of the book to see it in our catalog and place a hold. Pro tip: books also make great gifts! Happy reading and a happy 2018!

Miss Abby's Top 3
1. Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Why: I thought the world she created was really interesting, and I liked that it had an open ending. It wasn't tied neatly in a bow. I thought the concept was original and really enjoyed seeing Jinny's journey, both her successes and failures. She was a very real character to me, good qualities and flaws.

 2. Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty
Why: This series has just the right amount of creepy and fantastic/magical elements to be really intriguing to me. It was a very engaging story. I needed to know what things were going to play out, and I like the characters and world. It's mostly realistic, yet contains magic. It made me think about how I feel about magic's place in the world we live in. 

3. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Why: This was a clean, simple, good story. It takes place over one summer and follows sisters and the shenanigans they get into. Each sister has a distinct personality. It's kind of a coming of age story, yet takes place in a very short span of time. It's a good snippet of childhood, I think. 

Miss Kim's Top 3
1. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors  by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex
Why: We've all played the game but I can bet we have never thought about WHY Rock and Paper and Scissors need to battle.  This book begs to be read aloud to a group of slightly older kids.  Just before summer break, my own 3rd grader and her class loved it!

2. Escargot by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Sydney Hanson
Why: I can truly say that this is the only book I feel I need to read with a French accent.  There are even some interactive bits to get kids involved in getting Escargot the snail to his salad.

3. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Why: I have been listening to many different books this year but this was one of my favorites.  There was puzzle solving, code breaking, explosions, mystery, apothecaries, and it all takes place in 1665 London, just before the Great Plague hit in full force.

Miss Liz's Top 3
1. Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Why: Making and keeping friends is not easy, and this graphic novel based on the author's own childhood experiences is one of the most relatable friendship stories I've ever read. Fans of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson or any of Raina Telgemeier's graphic novels will love this. 

2. The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Why: Ever wondered why wolves howl at the moon? This hilarious picture book will give you the answer, along with many belly laughs along the way. 

3. Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Why: This story set in the 1920s off the coast of Massachusetts is full of adventure and mystery while being beautifully written at the same time. I loved the backdrop of the rustic Elizabeth Islands and often felt as if I were there myself. Crow's courageous and spunky personality is really endearing and readers will definitely be rooting for her throughout the entire book. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Happy November and Happy National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! NaNoWriMo started in 1999 in San Francisco, CA and has since grown to a worldwide celebration of aspiring novelists, young and old. The goal of the adult program is to write 50,000 words (the length of an average novel) in the month of November. Participants update their word count daily on NaNoWriMo's website where they can connect with other writers and receive feedback, encouragement, and inspiration.

NaNoWriMo also has a Young Writers Program (YWP) for authors under the age of 17. Participants can challenge themselves with a custom word count and receive access to a kid-friendly library of resources similar to the adult website. Throughout the month, writers can track their progress and receive badges for reaching various word count goals. Hit with a case of writer's block? The Dare Machine and Writing Sprints tools provide prompts and challenges to reboot your creativity.

What happens after November? The challenge doesn't stop just yet! December and January are traditionally thought of as editing and revision months to get your story in tip-top shape for publishing. Want to challenge yourself again? Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July gives writers another chance to continue their story or start a new one.

Think you're up for NaNoWriMo? Let us know in the comments! Then, come visit us at GMPL to stock up on your favorite novels for inspiration. We also have some nonfiction books to help you get started:

Happy writing!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday Three: Family Game Night

Family Game Night

My family and I had the opportunity to attend a day at GenCon – an entire convention dedicated to gaming.  Held annually in Indianapolis, GenCon started 50 years ago and has been growing since the beginning.  This 4-day convention sold out for the first time ever and is said to have hosted almost 208,000 attendees

So for this Thursday Three, I thought I would share three family friendly games we played at GenCon.

Sticky Chameleons by IELLO
Ages 6+, 2-5 players

Use a sticky chameleon tongue to capture bugs!  A roll of the dice will tell you which color and type of but to try to capture.  Get the right bug on your tongue, get it off the table as fast as you can or another player might steal it!  When you collect the correct bug, you collect a token.  The player with the most tokens at the end of the game wins!  Kids will love this game for the sticky tongues used to catch those insects.
Purchase directly through IELLO or Amazon.

Kingdomino by Blue Orange
Ages 8+, 2-4 players

Try to create your kingdom by matching dominoes with different terrains.  Your land can only be 5x5 and the order of play changes round to round.  There’s a little bit of math involved here – from sequencing numbers to adding points.  There’s also a bit of strategy needed to score the most points at the end of the game. 
Purchase directly through Blue Orange or Amazon.

Sparkle*Kitty by Breaking Games
Ages 6+, 3-8 players (Release date October 3, 2017)

This game isn’t even out yet but we can’t wait to own it!  We got a chance to play a demo at GenCon.  Choose a princess (of course I chose Princess Bookworm!) and build a tower.  Get out of the tower by saying nonsense “spells” created by matching cards by color or symbol.  The first princess to get out of the tower is the winner.  This was easy to learn, fun to play, and even my 11-year-old son enjoyed it! 

Only available for preorder right now through Breaking Games.

Do you have any favorite games to play as a family?  Comment and let us know!