Thursday, May 15, 2014

‘Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand’

Book cover: The Ninja Librarians, The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey. Cover art depicts a woman holding a fencing sword. To her right and left, a girl and boy hurl library cards in a way suggestive of ninja throwing stars. The trio are surrounded by library bookshelves through which lurking shadow figures glare at them. A disclaimer indicates the book is an uncorrected advance copy and that cover art is not final.
In The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand (Sourcebook Jabberwocky, 2014), author Jen Swann Downey introduces readers to the Lybrariad, a secret society of “Ninja Librarians.”

The mission of the Lybrariad is to aid people at points in history who were persecuted for expressing their ideas.

After falling through a hole in a janitor’s closet at the Passaic Public Library, Dorrie and her brother Marcus find themselves in Petrarch’s Library, a structure that is anchored to various points and places in time. Their arrival sparks concern for a new threat by the library’s enemies.

Downey’s book was a delight to read. It builds upon the image of the library professional as a defender of intellectual freedom to create an appealing fantasy adventure.

This library student considered with bemusement the offerings of the Lybrariad. Courses in stealth, deception, illicit entry,unarmed and armed combat take their place along cataloging, library organization, research skills, book repair and patron relations. The world is simply that much more wonderful because Ninja Librarians is a thing.

The Ninja Librarians landing page provides links to various resources including a Common Core-aligned educator guide, a Ninja Librarian’s guide to Petrarch’s Library and a library-scavenger-hunt activity kit.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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