Friday, September 20, 2019

Guy Friday- The World Series Kids and Frankly in Love

Kelly, David A. The World Series Kids (Super Special#4)
September 10th 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Public Library Copy

Mike and Kate are glad that Colin and the Cooperstown team have made it to the Little League World Series, and they are happy to be there with Kate's mother, a reporter. When the team's bus has its tires slashed, the duo are suspicious, but when their equipment bags are missing, they start their investigation into the sabotage in earnest. Apparently, there is a teen in a neon shirt who is responsible, and they use their detective skills to hunt him down. They also come across two Little League pins that they use to barter for information. When they line up the clues, however, they find that the threat has come from a surprising place.
Strengths: Kelly writes a great early chapter book, with a good mix of sports, mystery, and friendship. I love how he works in facts about different locations, teams, and sports practices. (Never knew about the pin trading!) Kate and Mike work well together, and the mysteries are interesting. My own children were obsessed with the Ron Roy A to Z Mysteries (1997-2005), and would have loved these as well.
Weaknesses: Who was the person who gave them the Founders pin? Did I miss this? I was greatly distracted by that mystery!
What I really think: These are great, but I don't have a lot of readers on this level. I generally have the first two or three in series like these, so my struggling readers can see what they are like, and we then get the rest from the public library. I would definitely have all of these for an elementary library, and would buy copies for a young baseball fan.

Yoon, David. Frankly in Love
September 10th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young
E ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

N.B. This is NOT a middle grade book. Too much swearing and discussion of college and PSATs. But I love this author's work, and I am missing one of my student helpers who always requested books with Korean-American characters.

Frank Li is struggling through his senior year in high school. He has a great best friend, Q (aka Will) Lee, who is African-American and in many of the same AP classes that Frank is in. He works on Sundays at his father's store, and goes with his parents to "gatherings", get-togethers that his parents' friends host. He misses his sister, who made it through college, got a job that made his parents happy, and then was disowned when she started dating (and then married) an African-American man. Frank's parents came to the US with very little, and have struggled to give Frank and his sister every opportunity, but also have high expectations for Frank's academic and social life. When Frank starts dating a white girl, Brit, who is in his AP classes, he does NOT want his parents to find out. He and Joy, a girl from the gatherings who is dating Wu, a Chinese guy, decide that they will pretend to date each other to get their parents off their backs. This works for a while, but since Frank doesn't tell Brit that he is hiding her from his parents, it causes some tension. The more he hangs out with Joy, the more he enjoys her company. Even though he never thought that dating another Korean-American, he connects with Joy on a lot of different levels, and starts to wonder if there is a future with her rather than with Brit.
Strengths: This definitely lines up with the sort of things my student described about his  home life, and would definitely be something he would enjoy. This author does a great, funny, romance book for older boys. There is such a great sense of place and community. Very fun to read.
Weaknesses: So many f-bombs, used indiscriminately. I just can't hand that sort of language to middle school students, not when I occasionally get mortified children who bring back books with more pedestrian profanity in them. The sex isn't instructional, just mentioned, so this would be fine for a high school library.
What I really think: Is it creepy if I hunt down former students and recommend books to them? It's not, is it? There is a new librarian at his high school, or I would suggest that the school buy this just for him.

Early Release schedule today and no language arts classes means I can clean and work on books orders and sit back and eat bonbons, right? Hahahaha.

Students seem needier than they have been in years past. They don't just come in and grab a book to read. They need to talk to me for 5-10 minutes, tell me about their dog and why their math homework is too hard, and stand really, really close to me. I spent a lot of time saying "personal bubble!" this week and singing "So long, fair well, Wiedersehen, goodbye!" when students lingered after I told them to go back to study hall when I was working with another student, but when I looked up, they were still there.

When I say I see 250 students a day, while some of this is just checking out a Chrome Book, a LOT of it is much more time consuming! Not complaining at all, but it is a change, and probably why students are doing a Social and Emotional Learning lesson for an hour at the end of the day. Either that, or they all think I am like the best grandma ever and they just want to bask in my presence.

Ms. Yingling

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