Friday, December 23, 2011

BLURBS ABOUT NEW BOOKS: PR and advertising for the school library

     I keep meaning to do this whenever we're able to buy some new books for the library (which is not often anymore), and this time I finally did.
     We received $500 from our PTA in the form of an Amazon gift credit, which we immediately spent. We were able to order 45 books, most of them new fiction, but also a handful of NONfiction. I'd been reading reviews in Booklist, and found  some things I thought would be perfect for us.
     Once all the books were processed (which was quick, due to my lightning-speed efficiency), I was afraid the nonfiction might get lost on the shelves, so I composed the following message to "all staff," by pasting in summaries and pics from Amazon. I included some fiction that was noteworthy for being dystopian, and/or just cool.
     I got a good response from some of the teachers, one of them came in immediately to check out Things I've Been Silent About because she saw it was by the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. Then students started coming in asking for books I'd put on the list, and when I asked them where they heard about them, they said one of the teachers had forwarded my original message with the book blurbs to her students. Cool, right?
     Anyway, here's the message I sent out, and maybe YOU'LL find one of these books worth seeking out...

Staff,
     Here are some new books of note we recently received for our library. This is just a small sampling of the books we were able to order thanks to the PTA. Some of these may fit into your various curriculums, or make good recommendations for certain students. J

The Third Wave: a Volunteer Story by Alison Thompson
Alison Thompson, a filmmaker living in New York City, was enjoying Christmas with her boyfriend in 2004 when she saw the news reports online: a 9.3 magnitude earthquake had struck the sea near Indonesia, triggering a massive tsunami that hit much of southern Asia. As she watched the death toll climb, Thompson had one thought: She had to go help. A few years earlier, she had spent eight months volunteering at Ground Zero after 9/11. She’d learned then that when disaster strikes, it’s not just the firemen and Red Cross who are needed—every single person can make a difference.
With $300 in cash, some basic medical supplies, and a vague idea that she’d go wherever she was needed, Thompson headed to Sri Lanka. Along with a small team of volunteers, she settled in a coastal town that had been hit especially hard and began tending to people’s injuries, giving out food and water, playing games with the children, collecting dead bodies, and helping rebuild the local school and homes that had been destroyed. Thompson had intended to stay for two weeks; she ended up staying for fourteen months. She and her team helped start new businesses and set up the first tsunami early-warning center in Sri Lanka, which continues to save lives today. 

Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in 21st-Century America by Michael Ratner
In the Age of Terrorism, the United States has become a much more dangerous place—for activists and dissenters, whose First Amendment rights are all too frequently abridged by the government.
In Hell No, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the country’s leading public interest law organization, offers a timely report on government attacks on dissent and protest in the United States, along with a readable and essential guide for activists, teachers, grandmothers, and anyone else who wants to oppose government policies and actions. Hell No explores the current situation of attacks upon and criminalization of dissent and protest, from the surveillance of activists to the disruption of demonstrations, from the labeling of protestors as “terrorists,” to the jailing of those the government claims are giving “material support” to its perceived enemies. Offering detailed, hands-on advice on everything from “Sneak and Peak” searches to “Can the Government Monitor My Text Messages?” and what to do “If an Agent Knocks,” Hell No lays out several key responses that every person should know in order to protect themselves from government surveillance and interference with their rights.
Beginning with a preface by Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a frequent legal commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, Hell No also includes an introduction on the state of dissent today by CCR board chair Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler. Concluding with the controversial 2008 Mukasey FBI Guidelines, which currently regulate the government’s domestic response to dissent, Hell No is an indispensable tool in the effort to give free speech and protest meaning in a post–9/11 world.

Things I’ve Been Silent About: Memories of a Prodigal Daughter
by Azar Nafisi
Azar Nafisi, author of the beloved international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, now gives us a stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country’s political revolution. A girl’s pain over family secrets; a young woman’s discovery of the power of sensuality in literature; the price a family pays for freedom in a country beset by political upheaval–these and other threads are woven together in this beautiful memoir, as a gifted storyteller once again transforms the way we see the world and “reminds us of why we read in the first place” (Newsday).
Nafisi’s intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerizing fictions about herself, her family, and her past. But her daughter soon learned that these narratives of triumph hid as much as they revealed. Nafisi’s father escaped into narratives of another kind, enchanting his children with the classic tales like the Shahnamah, the Persian Book of Kings. When her father started seeing other women, young Azar began to keep his secrets from her mother. Nafisi’s complicity in these childhood dramas ultimately led her to resist remaining silent about other personal, as well as political, cultural, and social, injustices.

The Most Dangerous Man in the World: the Explosive True Story of Julian Assange and the Lies, Cover-Ups and Conspiracies He Exposed
by Andrew Fowler
The battle lines are drawn: freedom of speech against the control of the State. The Internet is the battle ground. In this war there will only be one winner. In The Most Dangerous Man in the World, award-winning journalist Andrew Fowler talks to Julian Assange, his inner circle, and those disaffected by him, deftly revealing the story of how a man with a turbulent childhood and brilliance for computers created a phenomenon that has disrupted the worlds of both journalism and international politics. From Assange’s early skirmishes with the “cult” of Scientology in Australia to the release of 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the September 11th attacks and on to the visual bombshell of the Collateral Murder video showing American soldiers firing on civilians and Reuters reporters, Fowler takes us from the founding of WikiLeaks right up to Cablegate and the threat of further leaks in 2011 that he warns could bring down a major American bank. New information based on interviews conducted with Assange reveal the possibility that he has Asperger’s syndrome; the reason U.S. soldier Bradley Manning turned to an ex-hacker to spill military secrets; and how Assange helped police remove a “how to make a bomb” book from the Internet. The mother of one of his children also talks for the first time about life with Julian when he was setting up WikiLeaks.

Will Eisner: a Dreamer’s Life in Comics
by Michael Schumacher
In Will Eisner: A Dreamer's Life in Comics, Michael Schumacher delves beneath Eisner's public persona to draw connections between his life and his art. Eisner's career spanned a remarkable eight decades, from his scrappy survival at the dawn of comics' Golden Age in the late 1930s to the beginning of the twenty-first century, when Pulitzers began going to graphic novels (a term Eisner is widely credited with creating). Schumacher's extensive research and interviews with Eisner's family, friends, and colleagues, as well as other comics creators who have built upon his work, create a detailed portrait of Eisner the man and Eisner the artist.

The Dreamer (biography of Pablo Neruda)
by Pam Munoz Ryan
A breathtaking illustrated novel from Pura Belpre Award winner, Pam Ryan, and MacArthur fellow and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sis!
From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí hears the call of a mysterious voice. Even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself, Neftalí knows he cannot ignore the call. Under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, he listens and he follows. . . Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.

Treasury of Greek Mythology
by Donna Jo Napoli

This book on mythology is noteworthy because it's by a really awesome writer, Donna Jo Napoli, who usually writes fiction.



 


Legend
by Marie Lu
(Fiction) What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

This Dark Endeavor: the Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
by Kenneth Oppel
(Fiction) Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real.
They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.
Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

Crossed
by Ally Condie
(Fiction- sequel to Matched) In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

*HAPPY LEISURE READING OVER WINTER BREAK!*

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