Thursday, January 29, 2009

February Book Selection: Alvin Ho

Our February book selection will be Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look. We will meet on Monday, February 23rd at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room.

If there were no school, my troubles would blast away, just like that. I would dig holes all day. I would play catch with my gunggung. I would watch cooking shows. I would keep an eye on things. It would be fantastic!

Here are some things you should know about Alvin Ho:
  • He is afraid of everything. Trains, bridges, substitute teachers, girls, school. Everything.
  • He is from Concord, Massachusetts, which is hard to spell.
  • He loves Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and all the superheroes of the world. In fact, he is a superhero himself - Firecracker Man!
  • He is trying very hard to be a gentleman, like his dad, but there are a lot of rules and they are hard to remember.
  • He can talk at home and on the school bus, but never, ever at school. It is just too scary. (See #1.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January Meeting Wrap-Up & Author Interview!

The Book Buddies Book Club met this past Monday, January 26th to discuss The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. We had a wonderful book discussion beginning with the topic of historical mysteries and other books of that genre that we've read and enjoyed. We talked about Sherlock Holmes and what we knew about him prior to reading the Enola Holmes mystery. We also talked about codes and ciphers and why Enola's mother chose to communicate with her that way.

Most of our club members really liked Enola because they felt she was adventurous. They all thought she was very brave for searching for her mother on her own. We all unanimously agreed that it was okay for Enola's mother to hide the money Mycroft sent her, money that was intended to be used around the estate. We decided she had no other choice because the Victorian rules concerning inheritances after a husband's death were very unfair. She should have been left her husband's money instead of it going directly to the oldest son (Mycroft). We also felt it was right since she left the bulk of it to Enola for her future.

We talked about how things might have been different for Enola and her mother if her father were still alive and why Enola put her own plans aside to help solve the case of the missing Lord Tewksbury.

Finally we discussed whether or not Enola will make it on her own in London (we were split on this - some of us felt she would make it because she had a lot of money and was very smart, others felt she was too young and it would be too much responsibility to take care of herself) and whether or not Sherlock and Mycroft will ever catch up with her (everyone felt that eventually Sherlock would catch her, if only because he's a great detective). I guess we'll have to read on in the series to find out for sure!

The highlight of our meeting was our phone interview with the author, Nancy Springer. We asked her how she decided on the case of the missing marquess as Enola's first case. She said that she couldn't just have the case of Enola's missing mother because if that was solved right away there woudn't be a series of books. Enola on her own and running from her brothers who want to send her to boarding school is the premise of the series. She needed to bring in a second case, something that Enola would stumble onto by accident. Also she was reading a book about a missing boy whose clothes are discovered torn up in the woods and that gave her the inspiration for Lord Tewksbury.

We also talked about the wonderful cover which Ms. Springer is very happy with, although she doesn't have any direct involvement with the design of her books. She pointed out the hidden letters and numbers in the trees, including the numbers 221 for 221 Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes.

In terms of her favorite author, she's always been fond of Tolkien but her favorite changes according to her mood and who she's reading. She's also a fan of Patricia MacLachlan. When asked if she likes to solve mysteries she said that she's not good at finding lost things but that she writes about what she wishes she could do. She's fascinated by different ways to hide things and finding great hiding places that people wouldn't expect. She had fun thinking of all the hiding places for Enola's mother to hide all of Mycroft's money.

She described her writing process for us and said that it takes between 3 - 5 years to write a book from the very beginning to the final version.

Finally her idea for a younger sister for Sherlock Holmes came out of her being a feminist and wanting to write from the female point of view. She said that she'd been reading Sherlock Holmes since she was a child and that he doesn't have much use for women. Sherlock doesn't understand a lot of things about women and that made her want to create a sister for him, someone who would understand Victorian women and things like the language of flowers and how a home works.

The best part of writing for Ms. Springer is the writing itself. She has written more than 50 books and loves to write. She's grateful to be able to do something that she loves and something that allows her to create her own schedule. She also said that there will be a total of 6 Enola Holmes stories.

Ms. Springer was delightful to talk with and thoughtfully answered all of our questions. We thank her for her time and are eager to continue our journey with Enola in her next adventure!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Lunar New Year!

Hey everyone!
Today is the first day of Lunar New Year and 2009 is the Year of the Ox. Find out more about Chinese New Year and what's in store for you this year.
According to, "Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly."
For some fun, check out the Sagwa game from PBS Kids and go to the Newport Public Library's Fun & Games page for some cool Lunar New Year crafts.

Newbery & Caldecott Winners Announced!

Hi everyone,

The American Library Association announced their 2009 literary award winners this morning, including the winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, Sibert and Coretta Scott King awards. Here is a partial list of winners and Honor books:

Newbery Award:

Newbery Honor Books:
  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
  • The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law
  • After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

Caldecott Award:

Caldecott Honor Books:

  • A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
  • How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz
  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant

Robert F. Sibert Award:

Sibert Honor Books:
  • What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley
  • Bodies From the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem

Coretta Scott King Author Award:

Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books:
  • The Blacker the Berry by Joce Carol Thomas
  • Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith
  • Becoming Billie Holiday by Carol Boston Weatherford

For the complete list of ALA award winners, click here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet this Monday, January 26th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room to discuss The Case of the Missing Marquess: an Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer. Come ready to talk about the book and don't forget we will be interviewing the author, so think of some great questions!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Little More Holmes...

There have been a number of authors (both adult and childrens) who have written books that feature Sherlock Holmes as a character. The size of his role varies but authors love to use him because he's such a well-loved character in literature. Nancy Springer created a younger sister for Sherlock and Sherlock himself does appear in the Enola Holmes stories. Here are a couple of other books that include Sherlock Holmes:

Brought to London under mysterious circumstances by his tutor, a young boy seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes when his tutor is kidnapped and he himself is threatened with the same fate.

The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett (2008) - Sherlock Files #1

Xena and Xander Holmes, an American brother and sister living in London for a year, discover that Sherlock Holmes was their great-great-great grandfather when they are inducted into the Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives and given his unsolved casebook, from which they attempt to solve the case of a famous missing painting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

As you know, Nancy Springer created the character of Enola Holmes to be the younger sister of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Do you know Sherlock Holmes? Sherlock Holmes was created by Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930) and first appeared in 1887. He starred in four novels and fifty-six short stories.

The Children's Department has a couple of adaptations of Holmes stories that you may want to check out:

We also have an audio CD called Sherlock Holmes for Children. It's a storyteller's version of Sherlock Holmes and contains four stories. It can be found in our audiobook collection under jCD Weiss.

If you are interested in learning more about the man behind Sherlock Holmes, check out The Man Who Hated Sherlock Holmes; A Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Richard Powers located in our biography collection under j920 Doyle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Historical Mysteries

Historical mysteries are mysteries that are set during a period of time prior to when it was written. The Case of the Missing Marquess is a historical mystery because it is a true mystery (Enola must solve the mystery of her missing mother), it is set in Victorian London and was written in 2006. Historical mysteries are very popular because they combine two very popular fiction genres: historical fiction and mystery.

Here are some other historical mysteries you might like:

Assassin by Patricia Finney - Lady Grace Mystery, Book 1

Thirteen-year-old Lady Grace Cavendish, favorite maid of honor of Elizabeth I, must solve a murder mystery and clear the name of her betrothed.

The Smuggler's Treasure by Sarah Masters Buckey - American Girl History Mysteries, Book 1

Sent to live with relatives in New Orleans during the War of 1812, eleven-year-old Elisabet determines to find a smuggler's treasure to ransom her imprisoned father.

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

When a diphtheria epidemic hits her 1840 village, thirteen-year-old Jessie discovers it is actually a 1995 tourist site under unseen observation by heartless scientists, and it's up to Jessie to escape the village and save the lives of the dying children.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Many Cases of Enola Holmes

As you may know, The Case of the Missing Marquess is only the first in a series of books starring Enola Holmes. To date, there are three sequels and a fourth is due out this year:

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady: An Enola Homes Mystery

Pursued by her much older brother, famed detective Sherlock Holmes, fourteen-year-old Enola, disguised and using false names, attempts to solve the kidnapping of a baronet's sixteen-year-old daughter in nineteenth-century London.

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets: An Enola Holmes Mystery

Fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes, disguised as a beautiful woman, finds clues in floral bouquets as she searches for the missing Doctor Watson, a companion of her famous older brother, Sherlock.

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan: An Enola Holmes Mystery

While fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes endeavors to save her friend Lady Cecily Alistair from an unwelcome arranged marriage, she meets with some assistance from her older brother, Sherlock, and interference by the eldest, Mycroft.

And coming in May 2009:

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline: An Enola Holmes Mystery

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nancy Springer Interview

Well 2009 is getting off to a great start for the Book Buddies. I contacted Nancy Springer and she has agreed to do a telephone interview with us at our meeting on January 26th!!!! I am so excited about this because I loved The Case of the Missing Marquess and it will be a thrill to speak with her about it. We are so fortunate that so many authors have been willing to participate in our book club. It just goes to show what wonderful and supportive people they are!

So it's time to get thinking. What questions do you have about Enola Holmes and The Case of the Missing Marquess? What have you always wanted to ask an author about their life and work? Start thinking of some great questions and feel free to post them here. We'll need to have about 10 questions ready for the 26th. I'll be thinking as well and we'll put the final list together at our meeting. Can't wait to see you then!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Author Nancy Springer

Nancy Springer is the wonderful author of The Case of the Missing Marquess. She lives in Florida and says, "my space is shared by tree frogs, toads, lizards, giant silk moths, snakes and at least one alligator who came for dinner -- the others have been good enough to stay in the swamps." She has written many books for children including three other series:

Tales of Rowan Hood

Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (2001)
Lionclaw (2002)
Outlaw Princess of Sherwood (2003)
Wild Boy (2004)
Rowan Hood Returns (2005)

Tales of Camelot

I am Mordred (1998)
I am Morgan le Fay (2001)

The Books of Isle

The White Hart (1979)
The Silver Sun (1980)
The Sable Moon (1981)
The Black Beast (1982)
The Golden Swan (1983)

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009! I hope you all are enjoying the last few days of vacation before schools starts. If you are looking for things to do, come into the library. We have board games out as well as coloring sheets and a penguin craft that you can make.

I am very excited about the Book Buddies Book Club in 2009! I think it's going to be a great year for us filled with fantastic books and many more author interviews.

It's not too late to join the book club. We are always excited to have new members. If you are interested, please call 401-847-8720 ext. 204 or email me at