New Book Wednesday – Welfy Q. Deederhoth

Time to feature a new addition to the library collection. You know I love a good title, right? So how could I turn down a chance to read Welfy Q Deederhoth: Meat Purveyor, World Savior (by Eric Laster). It’s a little Hitchhiker’s Guide, a little Star Wars, a little Alcatraz. And I loved it!


I almost gave up on it in the second chapter. All of sudden there’s Princess Nnnn and Prince Ffff and they were speaking in a strange language. And I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go into all of that. But I stuck it out and I was glad I did.

Welfy is a homeless kid in New York City. One day he finds an owner of a deli who is willing to give him a job without asking any questions. He even gives Welfy a room in the back of the deli where he can sleep. One night, while taking a box into the deli basement, Welfy trips and ends up in another universe. And in this universe, he’s The One who has been prophesied to save them. He may not know what he’s doing, but he’s got an apron full of alien weapons and deli meats.

This book was a lot of fun. If you know anything about New York City, the author gives a very intriguing explanation for all of the Ray’s Pizzas. I highly recommend this book!

Apps of the Week

So, I’m trying a new thing this year. Each Monday I intend to highlight a fun or interesting app that I’ve found.

Today I actually have two apps that are related. In honor of the announcement of this summer’s trip to France, I thought it might be nice to start the year out with some language learning apps.


The first is Duolingo. This is a game-based language learning app. You can download the app for both iPhone and Android, or you can play on-line. The program uses immersion-style teaching, meaning that it has you jump right in with sentences and pronunciation. You’ll start out with some basics, then move into “themed” lessons, like food and animals. The further you go into the game, the more complex the lessons will get. For each lesson you have three or four “hearts.” Get a question wrong, lose a heart. Lose all of your hearts and you’ll have to start the lesson over. Finishing lessons and working consecutive days earns you points (“lingots”) to spend in the store which will get you extra lessons or some cool outfits for your owl.

Duolingo also gives you a chance to review what you’ve learned so that you don’t forget things from lesson 1 when you’re in lesson 20. And you can use the microphone feature on your phone to practice your pronunciation.
This is a fun app, and at times can be a little silly. A friend of mine used it before a trip to Italy, but was concerned that she wouldn’t have an opportunity to ask, “Whose penguin is that?”


If you want a more traditional language learning experience, check out Mango Languages. Like Duolingo, you can access Mango from your computer or your iOS or Android device. Mango provides more traditional course through learning the language. Most lessons start with how to say hello, thank you, and good bye and move through more practical scenarios. Mango does give you time in the lessons to practice your pronunciation, but it does not use the microphone to give you feedback or correct you the way Duolingo does.
Mango does have some fun with their language lessons. You can learn some key Portugese phrases for watching soccer in Brazil. Or, perfect for this coming Friday, brush up on your pirate!

Both apps are free, however, to use Mango for free you need to sign in through your local library,so you’ll need a library card (and since September is Library Card Sign Up Month, now’s the perfect time to get one if you don’t already have one).
Stan_Lee_PSA_FB_cover_v2I’m always open to suggestions for apps to feature, so if you know of some great ones, stop by and let me know or drop me an email.

Author Event

Welcome back, everyone! I need to post an update on my summer reading soon. I read some really good stuff.
But in the meantime, there’s an author event TONIGHT at my favorite bookstore in Delaware County (I have to qualify it a bit because there’s a great bookstore in Williamsport that also has a special place in my geeky librarian’s heart). Anyway, tonight at 7PM, Children’s Book World in Haverford will be hosting Tiffany Schmidt, Sarah J Maas, Elizabeth Norris, and Susan Dennard. These are great events where you really have a chance to talk the authors (and get a signed book and get a picture with the author). If you’re in the neighborhood, I highly recommend it.

My Summer Reading So Far

collage- first have summer covers

Hey folks!

Hope you’re all having a great summer. I’ve definitely been having a good time. I’ve got a flourishing garden (something I’ve never managed before), a semi-organized house (just doing one room per week), and a lot of books added to my “finished” list.

So, I started the summer finishing up some books for my work with the Teens’ Top Ten Committee. Teens’ Top Ten is a top ten booklist put out by YALSA. About 20-30 books are selected by teen book groups around the country. That list is then made public and teens vote for their favorites between August and October. As an adult committee member, I don’t have a say in picking the books at any point, but I did get to make book trailers for 5 of them. Rather than sum up the books, I’ll just give you the trailers.

5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Dewey Class 000’s: 001 deals with UFOs and this book deals with an alien invasion)

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (Dewey Class 100s: 135 deals with dreams and the main character in this book is a Nightmare – literally)

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (Dewey Class 300s: 302 and 305 deal with social groups and social interactions and this book looks at how labels affect our ability – both positively and negatively – to get to know someone)

(The other two books I read before summer, so I’m not including them here. If you go to the YALSA youtube channel and can pick out my other two trailers, you can claim a prize in September.)

Other books I’ve read:

Chasing the 400 by Sheilah Vance Mrs. Fitzpatrick recommended this book to me. It’s an adult book about the African-American community in Ardmore in the 1950s. Really interesting. (Dewey Class 900s: 974 would include PA history.)

Random by Tom Leveen I got this as an advanced copy and will definitely add it to the collection in the fall. A girl is about to go on trial for a cyberbullying incident when she gets a mysterious call, supposedly at random. The story takes place over just a few hours. Really interesting. This author also wrote the zombie book Sick. (Dewey Class 300s again: 302 for social interaction,  cyberbullying.)

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw This is another advanced copy. It’s a memoir by a young man from Bethlehem who has spinalmuscular atrophy, a severely debilitating physical condition. He gained notoriety for his tumblr Laughing at My Nightmare. It was okay, but I wasn’t wowed by it. (Dewey Class 600s: 616 deals with diseases and since most of Shane’s story revolves around his condition, seems a good place to drop it.)

Welfy Q. Deederhoth: Meat Purveyor, World Savior by Eric Laster This was kind of like Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by with aliens and deli meats. Welfy, a homeless teen, gets a job in a NY deli. One night, he literally stumbles through a portal to another planet, where he is the Chosen One that the citizens believe will save him. There are cool weapons and lots of deli meats. Loved this book! (Dewey Class 900: 999 is the history of extraterrestrial worlds.)

And last night I was up waaaay past my bedtime finishing an advance copy of Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King By now you should all know that I’m a huge fangirl when it comes to A.S. King. In this book, a young woman acquires the ability to see a person’s past and future when she looks at them. Through these “transmissions” she can see and starts to write the (future) history of the Second Civil War. Needless to say, I loved this. I always love A.S. King’s books. (Dewey Class 200: I’m stretching here, but the 210s have to do with Natural Theology, the existence of God and Humankind, and there’s a throughline in the story about a bat and God and having omnipotent knowledge like God. Plus, I need a 200 book.)

I’ve listened to two books. Nostradamus Ate My Hamster by Robert Rankin which was a crazy story involving time travel, Hitler, holographic movie stars, and a prop house. I’ll throw this in the 700s, since film falls in 777. And Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick which I got through the Sync program. I really, really did not like this book. Like Random, it takes place over a short period of time and is told by a young man who is planning to kill one of his classmates and then himself. The problem was, I really didn’t like Leonard, he was kind of a jerk. This can go in the 100s, since there’s a definite psychology bent to this book and psychology falls in the 150s.

I’m in the middle of an advance copy of Conversion, which weaves the story of Salem, MA with a current case of possible mass hysteria. So far it’s really, really good. And I’m listening to the Mysterious Howling, which was a Sync download last year.



Spring Break Reading – Meet the Author Edition


If you want to add another dimension to your spring break reading, consider these two opportunities, courtesy of Children’s Book World.

On Tuesday, March 25th, Tom Angleberger, the genius behind The Origami Yoda series, will be at Children’s Book World promoting his newest book, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue. (I don’t have that one yet, but we did recently get The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet – and Mrs. Trusty has a Jabba the Puppet hanging on her bulletin board.)

Then on Thursday, the 27th, stop by to meet Johnathan Stroud, author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy. He’ll be promoting his new series, Lockwood & Co.

Both events begin at 7PM. If you can get there, I highly recommend it. Children’s Book World puts on a great event. They’re usually not too crowded, so you have a chance to really have a discussion with the author as part of a group, and then time to talk with him (or her) individually if you get a book signed. I’ve met lots of authors there over the last few years and always have a great time.

Spring Break Reading – Nonfiction Edition

So, for those of you who prefer reality reading, I have three new nonfiction selections for you. All three of these books were nominated for Best Nonfiction by YALSA.

James L. Swanson’s “The President Has Been Shot!” is an account of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He starts with an overview of Kennedy’s life and his political impact. In the second half of the book, Swanson gives a detailed account of November 21st through the 25th. The book is packed with photos, diagrams, and resources for anyone who wants to learn more. And this isn’t Swanson’s first foray into presidential assassinations. He also wrote Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer about the search for John Wilkes Booth (which is also available in the library).

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II looks at the treatment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Author Martin Sandler looks at what life was like for the families sent to relocation camps. He includes a lot of pictures and other artifacts including poems written by people in the camps.

Finally, there’s the Nonfiction Award winner, The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb. This is the story of the hunt for Adolf Eichmann. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks like there’s a lot about spy craft, team work, and survival.

Spring Break Reading Suggestions – Pi Edition

(image via Flicker user jorel314)

Friday is Pi Day! The day loved by math geeks and baked goods aficionados alike! How better to add to the celebration than with some books that celebrate pi?
First up…I mentioned this one last week: John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. Colin has been dumped by 19 girls named Katherine. So, as a math geek, he wants to figure out how to create a formula to understand relationships and predict from the outset who is going to dump whom. Might not sound like pi is involved, but there is a place in the book where Colin explains the sentence he uses a a mnemonic to remember pi to about 99 places. Could help you take the title from Matt K! (And just to add, this was a Printz Honor book in 2007.)

The second book is Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early, a Printz Honor book this year. I’m not very far into it, so I can’t tell you much more than this: it’s post WWII and Jack’s mother has just died. Now Jack has been sent from Kansas to a boarding school in Maine so he can be closer to his military father. Eventually he will meet a kid named Early. And Early has a fascination with pi. I’m just on chapter two, but already they’re setting the ground for pi being integral to the story, “What is the holy grail of mathematics? Something that is so mysterious as to be considered by many almost miraculous. Something woven throughout the world of mathematics. A number that is nothing less than never-ending. Eternal” (p.16).