Stories With Ms. Jenna

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2015 Reading Goals

In 2014, I made a lot of reading goals for myself. I challenged myself to read 600 books through the goodreads challenge (which I recently attained (over half of which are picture books)) and aimed to read many books with starred reviews or a lot of buzz as well as new books in series I’ve already started. The far majority of what I read was published in 2014 and most were children’s or teen titles.

Reading goals can be great. Having goals pushes me to read more and read wider than my usual interests. However, between reading goals and putting pressure on myself to read ALL THE BOOKS so I can be a great librarian, I often end up reading just to get through a book so I can say I read it and move on to the next. I rush rush rush through books I feel like I should be reading.

So while I think I’ll return to lofty reading goals someday, my goal for 2015 is simply this: Read whatever the hell I want. For the general population, this is pretty common. But for a librarian and book-obsessed, starred-reviews-and-awards-obsessed person, it’s hard.

Of course, there are some exceptions (such as my monthly book club book). And then there’s one REALLY BIG exception: I’m serving on the 2016 Geisel Award committee. This means throughout 2015 I will be reading many many many books written for beginning readers so I can help decide which are the most distinguished. Sure, this books are short. But I have to read them multiple times and view them from a critical lens. This is going to take up a lot of my reading time.

It is because I’m on this committee that I’m doing away with any of my regular reading goals for the year. I will be spending a lot of time on this “required” reading, so I want the rest of my reading to be completely my choice without consideration of what is popular or what is notable. My choice reading might be one book every few days or maybe just one book a month. Maybe I’ll only want to read romance or graphic novels. Maybe I’ll go stretches without reading any non-Geisel books and focus my time on binge watching TV instead.

In 2015, I’m setting aside my own expectations of what I should be reading. I’m putting away pressure to read the latest and greatest. I’m just going to read whatever I feel like reading and when I feel like reading. And I think I’m going to start with a re-read of the entire Princess Diaries series.


2014 Favorites: Adult

Top 10:


10. Alex + Ada, Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn


9. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


8. The Martian by Andy Weir


7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

saga3 saga4

6. Saga, Volume 3 & Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples


5. Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick, David López


4. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare


3. Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok


2. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


1. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

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2014 Favorites: Young Adult

Honorable Mentions:

onemang waistcoats howitwent
portchicago shadowhero

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew

Top 10:


10. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi


9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


7. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson


6. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour


5. Half Bad by Sally Green


4. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


3. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona


2. When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds


1. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

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2014 Favorites: Middle Grade

Honorable Mentions:

fivesixseven dory snickerofmagic
targetpractice gracefully sisters

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle
Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack
Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Top 10:


10. Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord


9. Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, Greg Salsedo


8. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee


7. The Riverman by Aaron Starmer


6. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell


5. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham


4. Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff


3. Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin


2. Greenglass House by Kate Milford


1. The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

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2014 Favorites: Picture Books

Honorable Mentions:

kidsherriff watercanbe babytree

thepilot threebears

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall
Water Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, Lane Smith
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman

Top 10:


10. Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson


9. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen


8. A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey, Floyd Cooper


7. The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee


6. Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox, Brian Floca


5. Hermelin: The Detective Mouse by Mini Grey


4. Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, Christian Robinson


3. Coming Home by Greg Ruth

eastercat2 santacat

2. Here Comes the Easter Cat / Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood, Claudia Rueda


1. Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Brigette Barrager

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Storytime: November 5, 2014

First week in a new 6 week session of evening family storytime. I’m loving doing theme-less storytimes so I’m sticking with it!

Book: Puffin Peter by Petr Horáček


Rhyme: Streching

When I stretch up, I feel so tall.
When I bend down, I feel so small.
Taller, taller, taller, taller.
Smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller.
Into a tiny ball.

Book: Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo


Song: Johnny’s Hammers

Johnny taps with 1 hammer, 1 hammer, 1 hammer; (right arm)
Johnny taps with 1 hammer, then he taps with 2.
Johnny taps with 2 hammers, 2 hammers, 2 hammers, (add left arm)
Johnny taps with 2 hammers, then he taps with 3.
Johnny taps with 3 hammers, 3 hammers, 3 hammers, (add right leg)
Johnny taps with 3 hammers, then he taps with 4.
Johnny taps with 4 hammers, 4 hammers, 4 hammers, (add left leg)
Johnny taps with 4 hammers, then he taps with 5.
Johnny taps with 5 hammers, 5 hammers, 5 hammers, (add head)
Johnny taps with 5 hammers, and then he stops!

Flannel: Five Little Kites


One little kite in the sky so blue,
Along came another, then there were two.
Two little kites flying high above me;
Along came another, then there were three.
Three little kites, just watch them soar,
Along came another, then there were four.
Four little kites, so high and alive
Along came another, then there were five.
Five little kites dancing across the sky,
What a sight to see, way up so high!

Song: “List of Dances” by Jim Gill

Book: I Dream of an Elephant by Ami Rubinger


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10 Most Anticipated 2015 Middle Grade Books

Looks like 2015 will be another great year of middle grade! Here are the top 10 books I cannot wait to get my hands on:


Nnewts: Book 1 by Doug TenNapel (1/6)

I’ve really enjoyed TenNapel’s previous graphic novels with their fast-paced adventurous stories and vibrant art. This new one is the start to a series!


Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2/24)

I have yet to read a book by this author, but I will definitely read this one. It’s almost 600 pages and follows various characters all connected by a harmonica. Consider me intrigued!


Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin (2/24)

I haven’t finished my best-of-2014 lists yet, but you can bet Loftin’s Nighingale’s Nest will be on there. This new book follows a girl with cancer and a boy who doesn’t fit in with his family. Together, they plan an escape.


The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy #3) by Shannon Hale (3/3)

It’s a new (and the last!) Princess Academy book. Of course I will read it. Of course I will love it.


Jack by Liesl Shurtliff (4/14)

In the vein of her first novel, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, Shurtliff brings us another fairy tale retelling- this time about Jack & The Beanstalk!


Gone Crazy in Alabama (Gaither Sisters #3) by Rita Williams-Garcia (4/21)

Another story about the Gaither Sisters! I want this series to continue on forever because I love spending time with these girls.


Cleopatra in Space #2: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack (4/28)

I loved the first book in this graphic novel series about a time-displaced Cleopatra and can’t wait to see what happens next!


From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot (5/19)

I grew up on the Princess Diaries series, so I’m very excited that Cabot is exploring that world more!


Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff (5/26)

Graff is an automatic-read author for me. This new book is “a touching story about a boy who won’t let one tragic accident define him.”


The Golden Specific (The Mapmakers Trilogy #2) by S.E. Grove (7/14)

Immediately after finishing the first book in this series, The Glass Sentence, I deemed it my favorite middle grade fantasy since Harry Potter. Really hoping book 2 is just as amazing!

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Storytime: October 22, 2014

Another week of theme-less storytime!

Book: The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horáček


Rhyme: Animals

Let’s hear you roar like a lion!
Let’s see you jump like a frog!
Let’s see you snap your jaws like a crocodile!
Let’s hear you howl like a dog!
Pretend you’re an elephant with a big, looooong, truck.
Pretend you’re a monkey. Let’s see you jump, jump, jump!
And now you’re a mouse. Just let me see
How very, very quiet you can be.

Book: Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson


Song: “Jump Up, Turn Around” by Jim Gill

Flannel: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything


Rhyme: “Monster, Monster”

Monster, monster, turn around.
Monster, monster, touch the ground.
Monster, monster, reach up high.
Monster, monster, squint your eyes.
Monster, monster, show your teeth.
Monster, monster, stamp your feet.

Book: Who Is Driving? by Leo Timmers


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