Sunday, June 30, 2019

‘The Fire Keeper’ by J.C. Cervantes

Book cover, 'The Fire Keeper' by J.C. Cervantes
With The Fire Keeper, author J.C. Cervantes continues her Storm Runner series that centers around gods from Maya mythology.

Teen protagonist Zane Obispo chronicled his earlier adventure with a secret message for other “godborns” who, like himself, had a god for a parent. In this follow-up, he learns that by doing so, he’s placed those other godborns at risk and, moreover, his father Hurakan is going to be put to death by the other gods.

Cervantes’ books in the Storm Runner series are part of a unique imprint, Rick Riordan Presents, which is published by Disney Hyperion.

The books involves themes and characters from world mythologies, written by authors who are from those cultures and who have a deep familiarity with the legends and traditions.

Rick Riordan, of course, is the bestselling author of mythology-based adventures that combine modern-day characters with figures out of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythologies.

Like Riordan’s own books, the stories in this imprint involve themes and characters from mythology, but Riordan’s role can be described as that of a curator rather than author (“Disney Announces New Rick Riordan Imprint,” Publisher’s Weekly, Sept. 13, 2016).

As related in the article, Riordan had been asked “about a zillion times” by his readers, “When are you going to write about (fill in the blank): the Hindu gods and goddesses? Ancient Chinese mythology? Native American legends?”

As his editor, Stephanie Owens Lurie, explained concerning the imprint’s launch: ”I know he feels that, in some instances, the books his readers are asking for him to write are really someone else’s story to tell.”

Having avidly read each new title as it was released by the imprint, I especially enjoyed a continuation for the saga of Zane Obispo. It populates an exciting and suspenseful adventure with characters that I came to care about.

I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sonoma County Library going ‘fine-free’

Important news if you’re a regular borrower through Sonoma County Library: Effective July 1, SCL will no longer charge late-fees for materials that are not returned on time. (The library will continue to charge for lost, or damaged, items.)

More than 80,000 people currently owe overdue-fines to the library, according to a recent article in the Press Democrat. SCL is hoping that, by eliminating overdue fines, former library patrons will be encouraged to return without fear of hefty fees.

This move by SCL is part of a nationwide “fine-free” trend among public libraries, in recognition that fines can pose barriers — especially to low-income families — to access resources through the library.

It’s interesting to note that financial impact for the library is expected to be small; the article quotes Ray Holley, a library spokesman, stating that late and lost books account for less than 1 percent of the library’s total revenue each year. According to Holley, it costs SCL more to collect fines than what the library makes from them.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Summer reading and ‘Friends’ book sale at Sonoma County Library

Two books arranged front-covers up, next to each other with the right book slightly overlapping the left. The books are '1000 Life Hacks, Clever ways to make your life easier at home, work, and play' by Dan Grabham, and 'the Big GREEN book of recycled crafts, Over 100 Earth-Friendly Projects,' by Leisure Arts, Inc.

I won these books (courtesy of Friends of the Santa Rosa Libraries) through posting reviews, logging books-read, and completing activities for summer reading at Sonoma County Library. And with the “Friends” book sale taking place this weekend at SCL’s Central Library, now’s an especially good time to redeem those free-book summer reading prizes. You can register for summer reading online at

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Story-time cushions for SRCSA library

Two rolling storage containers with round base and metal side-braces in the front and back, each holding 12 circular cushions. The solid-colored cushions are in shades of green, blue, red, and yellow. Behind them are library shelves with children's picture books on them.

Looking forward to library story-time next year at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts! These story-time cushions were purchased for the library using Scholastic Book Fairs dollars. Appreciation to School for the Arts Community Organization for making this acquisition possible.

Monday, June 3, 2019

‘Ban This Book’ by Alan Gratz

Book cover, 'Ban This Book' by Alan Gratz. Cover image depicts a stack of books inside an open, blue school locker. The locker next to it, on the left, has been graffiti-tagged 'No Censorship'
Amy Anne, a fourth-grader, creates a library of banned books in her locker after a classmate’s mother uses her political influence to remove books from the school library. (The school district has an official policy for dealing with challenges to books, but because this parent has so much clout, the board abandons its official policy and simply removes the books.)

I liked this book for its portrayal of students taking positive action, as well as for its advancement of the theme of choosing books for yourself. It’s OK for a child’s parents to make choices for that child about what is, or is not appropriate, but that child’s parents do not get to make that choice for every other child in the school.

One of my favorite scenes concerns Amy Anne’s wanting to keep track of books borrowed from her library. Amy, of course, does not have access to an automated library catalog. So what does she do? She asks the school librarian about how libraries tracked books before the automated catalog, and the helpful Mrs. Jones even equips Amy with her own date-stamp to imprint due-dates in the books.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

SRCSA library, top circulations for 2018-2019

More than 7,000 transactions were recorded this past year in the library at Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts. Here are the books that were most often checked out during the 2018-2019 school year, with number of circulations.