Last Wednesday I attended the “Librarians’ Sneak Peek Book Preview 2011″ sponsored by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). It is always a pleasure to hear about upcoming titles from the publishers themselves, and there are several with teen potential to look forward to. Of course, it is impossible to be sure of appeal until reading the book itself, but here are some titles I am keeping an eye on:
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, January)
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Knopf, February)
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW/Penguin, April)
Silver Girl by Tayari Jones (Algonquin, May)
Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Norton, July)
7th Sigma by Steven Gould (Tor/Macmillan, July)
Swamplandia! is the first novel by Karen Russell, author of the terrific short story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. 7th Sigma was described as a future Wild West with bugs. Hard to resist! My students have been asking about the sequel to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss since 2007. And I mean the same students, every 3 months or so.
One of the ARCs I received on Wednesday was Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan (William Morrow, 978-0-06-193005-8). I took it out on my commute home and fell in love by page 9, solidified on page 12 when I laughed out loud on the subway (embarrassing, but always a good sign). I don’t want to say too much because I will be publishing a review on the blog closer to the book’s January release. But you know that feeling when you are in love with a book — you have to talk about it! Three Cups of Tea comparisons are inevitable, but Conor has a wonderful voice all his own: self-deprecating sense of humor, and a real affection for his young charges, combined with a story of survival and rescue in a civil-war torn country. Perfect for summer reading, all-school reading, and One Book, One Community Reads.
There are already marketing materials available on the publisher’s website, including a video of the author talking about the book, and Conor will appear at ALA Midwinter in San Diego.
In keeping with the spirit of volunteerism, our review of the day:
Adult/High School–This impressive collection of more than 750 volunteer opportunities should prove an excellent starting point for anyone contemplating the adventure, challenge, and rewards of voluntourism. The range of projects is vast, both geographically, and in subject matter. Every entry is sufficiently detailed and current, and the presentation is logical, attractive, and, with cross-indexing, accessible from multiple aspects. The listings are arranged geographically, first by continent (and Oceania), and then alphabetically by nation. The extensive index by project type will help readers focus on particular sets of opportunities. The projects range from teaching and tutoring to animal care and habitat conservation, from archeology to sports programs, from health care to tree planting. There is also considerable range in costs, from free to several thousands of dollars, and in duration, from one day to several months. Most projects have an age requirement of 18, but there are also many that welcome younger teens, some with an accompanying adult and some without. A particular strength of this book is the introductory material, which gets the potential volunteer thinking about all the important questions: Why volunteer? How to select a project? What are they going to expect from me? Where does the money go, and why does it cost money to volunteer? Another strength is the multiple avenues the book presents to finding further information. The author is to be commended for an honest focus on the practical issues facing volunteers as well as the loftier rewards of work devoted to a better world for all.–Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA