Friday, March 31, 2017

Fall of the Dragon Prince (The Forgotten Heirs Trilogy Bk. 1) by Dan Allen

Image from amazon.com


Years ago, the five realms were united byToran, the King. Rumor has it that Toran left an heir in each of the five realms and tied the success of each realm to the survival of his hidden heirs. Now that Toran has died, the realms are once again in turmoil, and only an heir can reunite them.
In the Erdali Realm, Reann, a highly intelligent serving girl in Toran’s estate, has taken it upon herself to try to find the heirs. Her mother was the translator for King Toran, before her death left Reann orphaned. King Toran took Reann in as a servant and left instruction for her to be cared for until her swiftly approaching eighteenth birthday. Reann is the unofficial librarian of the estate and uses all her spare time to research, knowing that she has only weeks left to solve the secret of the heirs before she will be kicked out of the estate. Then, a mysterious nobleman shows up with clues and employs her help in solving the riddle of the lost heirs. In the Montazi Realm, Terith has been raised as a dragon rider. He is the most gifted rider in his village and in charge of the raising and training of the war dragons. Terith will ride to represent his village in the upcoming race to win the right to marry the woman he loves. But his magic awakening has begun early, so he has to learn to control it to be successful in the race and defeat the dark traitor who will be racing against him Will the heirs be found in time to save the realms?

This book is fantasy at its’ best! Fans of Eragon, Game of Thrones, and classic dragon fantasy will enjoy this. The characters are wonderfully written and likable. Readers will find themselves reading through the night, unable to put this down--unable to wait for the next book in the series... needing to know what happens to Reann and Terith! You would like this book if you like… Dragon Fantasy stories!


- Sara Pavone, DragonLibrary Staff

Friday, March 24, 2017

Music is the literature of the heart...

“Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.”

― Alphonse de Lamartine


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: Strange Fruit, Volume 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History (Bk. 1 of Strange Fruit) by Joel Christian Gill

Image from RRHS Catalog

Gill presents several brief stories about Black Americans that are not typically included among the cannon of black history. Perilous and strange escapes from bondage, pioneers in various fields, and horrific yet forgotten episodes are all presented succinctly with a simple graphic charm. I'd recommend this book as a way to broaden the narrow view presented in many discussions of black history. There's little interaction with the historic grandees; W.E.B. DuBois makes a cameo, as does Teddy Roosevelt. The rest of the cast of characters will likely be new to you. Some escaped slavery and lived to tell a remarkable tale; others overcame social obstacles to achieve greatness. Gill relays these tales with humor and grace, often winking at folktale embellishments which place some stories closer to Washington's cherry tree than START II in terms of historical veracity. The art is simply done with occasional artistic flourishes and plenty of detail and easter eggs for the observant reader. You would like this book if you like… March, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, or the Crogan Adventures.


- RET3, Guest Reviewer

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Faculty Review: Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

Image from RRHS Catalog


Blue Riley's musician mother died from cancer. Her sister has sold her soul to the devil and run off to fulfill her dreams.  Blue makes a deal with the devil; she trades her musical voice for a chance to find her sister and bring her back.  Armed only with her mother's guitar and a pair of magical boots, Blue sets off across the country to find her sister.  As she travels, Blue finds out about the meaning of family and the unfairness of dealing with the devil. This novel of good vs. evil will keep readers turning the page.  The magical elements are believable and slight, and the characters seem like friends you would want to have.  Two thumbs up for this book! You would like this book if you like… Maggie Steifvater's Raven Boys series.

- Sara Pavone, DragonLibrary Librarian

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Faculty Review: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Image from goodreads.com

Catrina and her family move to a purportedly haunted town on the coast of Northern California for the health of her younger sister, Maya. Although Cat wants nothing to do with ghosts, Maya is determined to meet one. As Dia de los Muertos approaches, Cat must figure out how to overcome her fears for both their sakes. Although Ghosts is a cute, fun read, some may take exception with the depiction of Hispanic culture and the relationship with ghosts. Nevertheless, this title would be a good addition to a middle grade or early high school collection. You would like this book if you like… Mercury by Hope Larson or Flutter by G. J. Linko.

- Christina Taylor, DragonLibrary Librarian


Monday, March 6, 2017

High Ideals #RRockReads

Skipping up the steps of the grand institution that resides at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, the language arts educator and public school librarian in me appreciates the majestic Beaux-Arts building that I’m about to enter. But the suppressed ten-year-old in me secretly hopes that Cee-Lo Green will burst forth from Patience—his marble prison—and offer up a modern rendition of “I’m a Mean Old Lion.” And even the sobering knowledge that no such whimsy will come to fruition on this day is incapable of sapping my joy.  Having waited these many years, the mere thought of spending my morning on a reading date in the hallowed halls of the New York Public Library prompts a hedonistic flush that can only be rivaled by the fond childhood memory of myself paying gold-lamé-clad homage to Ted Ross’ high-stepping, ousted leader of the pride.






Image from dpreview.com
After a short jaunt down the first floor to room 117, I sigh, nestle into a chair, and take out my tablet to read. Basking in sensuous decadence, I glide my palms over the multi-hued inlaid wood that tops the banquet length table where I’m seated.  I stroke the sculpted table leg and note the many globes that have been tucked into this reading room’s various nooks and crannies. If only I’d taken a selfie.



Round Rock I.S.D. libraries are kicking off a literacy awareness social media campaign entitled #RRockReads. ​​It will start as a campus challenge over Spring Break, ​grow ​into a community challenge in April, and continue ​through the summer. The goal is to have students, faculty, staff, and community members read for fun, to learn, to create, to share, and to grow. Participants are encouraged to share pictures on Twitter and/or Instagram that demonstrate What? Where? or How? they are reading, to deploy the hashtag #RRockReads, and to tag their libraries and librarians (@rrhslib, @SaraSPavone, & @cetaylor05)


Spring 2017 Campaign T​imeline
  • March 1-19: Springbreak Campus #RRockReads Challenge
  • March 23: RRISD School Board, Superintendent, and Community Challenge for National School Library Month (April)
  • April: Continue to highlight our community of Readers!
  • April: National School Library Month
  • Summer: Grow our community of readers!
​ ​
As for my book adventure… opulent though it was, my NYPL reading escape was merely a well-appointed side room, while the main reading room was closed for renovation.

Clearly, I’ll simply have to return for the full experience. (And to get that selfie!)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Faculty Review: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran

Image  from RRHS Catalog


Stan Lee details his history with and contribution to the comic book industry in this full-color graphic memoir. The comic book legend shares not only his legacy but also the story of how modern comics came to be and his involvement in that process—beginning with his impoverished childhood and pushing through to the current resurgence of the Marvel empire in movies.  Amazing Fantastic Incredible would be a good addition to an  established graphic nonfiction collection, as fans of the Marvel Entertainment movies will enjoy reading about the infamous Stan Lee. Furthermore, you would like this book if you like Dare to Disappoint by Özge Samanci, Filmish by  Edward Ross, or other graphic memoirs.

- Christina Taylor, DragonLibrary Librarian

A Grinchmas Carol

Seuss was dead, to begin with – there’s no doubt about that. On September 21, 1991, Theodore Seuss Geisel departed this world, leaving behind many partners in mirth—among them a certain high school librarian upon whose circulation desk we now intrude.

Once upon a time, on Read Across America Eve, this librarian sat busy at her circulation desk—a cold place, colder still for the icy scowl affixed upon her visage at the sight of her director cheerily bursting in upon the scene and declaring “Merry National Read Across America! Literacy save you.”

“Bah!” said Librarian, “Humbug!” Anyone who goes about with ‘Merry National Read Across America’ on her lips should be boiled in her own pudding.

“Read Across America a humbug!” said Librarian’s director. “You don’t mean that, I am sure?”

“I do. It’s quite clear that Seuss’ works have little to offer the sophisticated needs of a secondary library! You keep Literacy in your way, and I’ll keep it in mine.”

But before the unperturbed director could offer a rejoinder, they were joined by a trio of preternatural presences: a faintly-visible mote suspended in a convenient sunbeam, an anthropomorphic feline in a preposterous chapeau, and a fuzzy orange potato with spindly limbs and a Wilford Brimley mustache.

Astonished at the sight, the bickering librarians stood agape a moment before a voice floated out of the dust-speck.

“I know what you’re thinking: Who are we? Well, since we’re not being paid by the word—like some authors we could name—we thought we‘d shortcut the whole arriving-at-the-stoke-of-the-hour schtick and quickly get this over with. We’re the Ghosts of National Read Across America Past, Present, and Future, and we’re going to show you, our curmudgeonly librarian, that the ideas which make Dr Seuss’ works timeless are present throughout your ‘sophisticated’ Young Adult world.”


Image from RRHS Catalog
Similar to Horton’s tale, stories with unseen worlds being discovered by the main character are common in Young Adult literature.  Frequently, the protagonist is singled out by fate and his or her life becomes complicated by the sudden introduction of the extraordinary into the quotidian.  Instead of hearing voices from Who knows what, our hero finds out that vampires are real or that he is a wizard. Some lesser known titles that feature this Seussian motif are Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, Illuminate by Aimee Agresti, and The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer.





Image from RRHS Catalog
Moreover, at any point in time, a zany character can happen by that turns a YA reader’s world topsy-turvy, driving a rollicking adventure that’s unbelievable. In the place of a Cat in a Hat may be a masked pirate king with familiar eyes, as in The Princess Bride by William Goldman; a troubled shape-shifting girl, as in Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; or a literally unbeatable super-heroine, as in Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, demanding attention and temporarily tearing the reader from her everyday world.




Image from RRHS Catalog
Finally, a world seemingly unlike our own can be uncannily similar in poignant ways—enough to make a teenager put down the glowing iThing and heed he who speaks for the trees. The deforested post-Loraxian waste of the Once-ler is a dystopia as sure as a rigid system of Myers-Briggs castes or a state-sanctioned gladiatorial bloodsport. In The Crewel World series by Gennifer Albin, The Selection series by Kierra Cass, and The Dragon Slayer of Trondheim series by E. K. Johnston, this same trope calls into question some rather disturbing aspects of our own world.





Still haunted by the the sight of the epitaph UNLESS, Librarian watched the wee mustachioed Ghost of Read Across America Future stalk off into the distance of the nonfiction stacks before turning to her colleague, unexpectedly giddy with excitement. “There’s still time! I haven’t missed it! I will honor Read Across America in my library, and keep it all year long!”

And, she was better than her word.