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CCB Newsletter
October 2011


In this Newsletter…



CCB Web Resource Profile: Comic Book Resources

Check out the new Comic Book Online Resources page on the CCB website.  There, you’ll find a selection of links to major comic book publishers, blogs to aid in comic book collection development, and links to keep you up-to-date on comic industry news.   These resources are relevant to both those new to comics and those who already have a comic book background.  Thanks to GSLIS student Lauren Chambers who presented these resources at the CCB Graphic Novels Brown Bag!


October Calendar

Tuesday, October 4: CCB closes at 5pm
Thursday, October 13: Youth Lit Book Club, 5-6pm
                                    Discussing Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Saturday, October 15: Story Time, 2-3pm at Urbana Free Library
                                    with the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Thursday, October 20: Story Coach, 5-7pm
Friday, October 21: CCB closed to public (LEEP Weekend)
Monday, October 24: CCB closed to public (LEEP Weekend)
Tuesday, October 25: Graphic Novel Book Club, 7-8pm at Espresso Royale

Events take place at the CCB unless otherwise noted. For complete descriptions of calendar events, visit the calendar on our website.


New Bibliography on the CCB Website

Under the Big Top: Books About the Circus
Created by Anna Holland


 Feature: Interview with CCB GA Laurel Halfar

Where did you grow up?
I consider myself a pseudo-townie, I grew up in Mahomet, Illinois which is just one hour away.

What was your library life like while growing up?
I’m ashamed to admit, I actually didn’t go to the library when I was younger, we lived just outside of town so you had to pay an additional fee [to use the library].  My mom made a compromise that she would purchase the books that we wanted, up to a certain amount, because [the library fee] was quite a bit of money.  So, I actually didn’t get to go to the library as a child!

What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved all sorts of books, but my mom tells me the books that I wanted read [to me] over and over again were anything by Richard Scary.  I think it was mostly the illustrations, and the seek-and-find, that I really enjoyed.

What about when you started reading on your own?
All of those series books—Goosebumps, Babysitters’ Club, Anamorphs.  All that stuff they say not to read!  But they were definitely my favorite.

How did you end up on the path to library school?  What was your undergraduate career path? 
Though I wasn’t a library buff as a child, I always loved reading.  My undergrad experience, at Illinois State in Bloomington, was in early childhood education.   While I was in school, I worked in the Normal Public Library in their Children’s Department.  The librarians were wonderful, many of them had gotten their degrees from the U of I at GSLIS.  They had rave reviews and wonderful things to say [about the program].  After I graduated, I decided that was the path I wanted to take. 

Now that this is your second year working at the Center for Children’s Books, what is your favorite part about working here?
I think my favorite part of the CCB and GSLIS in general is getting to know people from a variety of backgrounds.  Everyone always has a great book to recommend, or a piece of information that they’re an expert on.  I feel I learn so much from everyone, and more than just about library science but about everything!  Everyone brings all their knowledge in.  I love our patrons and our volunteers at the CCB.

Since it’s the beginning of the year, we have a whole calendar of events in the CCB to look forward to.  What event is your favorite?
I really enjoy attending Story Coach meetings.  I had the great pleasure of taking Storytelling with Kate McDowell and absolutely loved it.  I fell in love with the art form of storytelling.  I think it’s so interesting, and being a listener is really wonderful—to either hear stories as they’re being worked on, or [stories] that have been perfected over time.  It helps to make stories better, to perfect your own craft.  It’s fun to see what people bring and what comes of it. 

Had you done any storytelling before coming to GSLIS, or was that a new experience?
I hadn’t, it was a new thing.  Story Coach was my first experience with storytelling, as opposed to read alouds with books.  It really inspired me, and I was really excited to take Kate’s class in the spring [of 2011].  It’s fun because you don’t often think about creativity in library science, but creativity really is there in lots of components of the job, and [Storytelling] was one class that really highlighted those creative components.  It was a class environment like nothing I’ve had before. 

What do you hope to do in your future career?
I’m really flexible,  I’m not sure what my job will be yet.   Maybe [my] ideal job would be to work in a children’s museum, I think that would be really interesting.  With my teaching background, I’m interested in potentially being a school librarian, or to work in a public library in the children’s department. 
I have an Illinois teaching certificate, and I am getting an endorsement on my current certificate, so I will be a certified school librarian.

Right now I’m interning at a school library in Mahomet, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s an early childhood building, so it only has Pre-K and Kindergarten, so that’s pretty unique.

Tell us about your internship.  What has been different working in a school library vs. a public library in your work experience?
It’s been similar to a public library.  The thing that is really taken into consideration [for school libraries]  is the connection to the curriculum— though public libraries also  do that a lot, trying to introduce those early literacy skills.  At the Pre-K and Kindergarten level I see a lot of overlap, for sure. 

At Middletown Early Childhood Center, I basically assist and observe the class sessions, so we typically do a read-aloud or some kind of direct instruction.  Then we do check-out, which the kids are very excited about!

Right now we’re doing lots of early literacy.   So the kids are learning that you can “read” a story by looking at the pictures, learning to make predictions, working on retelling, and just connecting to books.  Teaching print motivation—reading is fun!—and that [reading] can be an enjoyable experience. 


New Books We Just Had to Read

Every month, the CCB Graduate Assistants highlight books reviewed in the most recent issue of the Bulletin that we were excited to read. These decisions are based on personal preference, but all books listed are Recommended by the Bulletin. For complete reviews, visit the Bulletin website ( to learn how to subscribe.

Laurel’s Choice: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
Pages: 306
Publisher and Year: Delacorte, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-74016-6
Price: $17.99

It looks like Shakespeare had his facts wrong when he wrote his famous tragedy about the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.  The truth is Romeo was convinced to sacrifice Juliet in order to gain immortality—though his eternal life came with a price. Romeo is a Mercenary of the Apocalypse, sent to earth to occupy a recently dead body, seek out soul mates, and persuade one to kill the other. With each death Romeo instigates, the Mercenaries gain power. Juliet spends her eternity working for the opposing team, the Ambassadors of Light, and battling Romeo to save the very soul mates he wishes to tear apart. Juliet dwells in a troubled body near the soul mates in question, staying long enough to ensure true love will prosper, and increase the Ambassadors’ strength. But this time, when Romeo and Juliet find themselves in the bodies of two young people in California, something is different.  Neither can communicate with their higher-ups, and Juliet cannot gain her otherworldly strength. Then, Juliet finds herself falling for one of the soul mates she was sent to save. This new take on the classic love story blurs the lines between good and evil and takes readers through a high action clash between two commanding forces.

Anna’s Choice: There Is No Long Distance Now by Naomi Shihab Nye
Reading Level: Gr. 7 up
Pages: 197
Publisher and Year: Greenwillow Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-201965-3
Price: $17.99

Both fleeting and complex, acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s voice shines in her latest collection of thirty-nine very short stories of 1,000 words or less. Often providing a mere glimpse of the troubled world within, Nye introduces a set of narrators submerged in the difficulty of navigating their ordinary lives. Hidden in the heartfelt and simple third-person prose, each narrator reflects a keen understanding of the world they inhibit. Starting with small events that spiral into defining moments, Nye offers up little truths about life and cultural identity that spin out and sparkle as the stories’ quintessence. Though spanning a variety of subjects, Nye returns her attentions more than once to the war in the Middle East and growing up Arab-American. Amongst all her stories, however, readers will find a unifying theme of differences, identity and common ground. Brevity and richness in scope will likely make There Is No Long Distance Now a favorite among young writers and fans of the short story format. Nye’s stories may also have the potential for classroom use or creative writing prompts.   

Lauren’s Choice: Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
Reading Level: Gr. 6-9
Pages: 226
Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5334-7
Price: $15.99

Travis figures himself a Bluefish—slow, stupid, and destined for loneliness.  His grandfather is too busy going to AA meetings to care much about Travis, and his best friend—his dog, Rosco—is gone and isn’t coming back.  Travis can’t read and has never been one for school, and at first it seems that this year will be no different.  Enter Velveeta, every bit unique as her name, and who seems determined to pull Travis out of his reclusive shell.   Then there’s Mr. McQueen, the reading teacher who surprises Travis with his dedicated and energized approach to teaching that previously elusive subject.  Both try to prove to Travis that he’s no Bluefish, but that he really is smart and unique, too. The story refreshingly stretches beyond a simple identity quest.  Despite Velveeta’s externally captivating qualities, and Travis’ grandfather’s gruff exterior, both are hiding their own grief and shame, and the novel thoroughly explores these themes.  Those looking for a warm, accessible novel that creatively deals with tough issues will be rewarded in Bluefish.  


Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Law, Ingrid. Scumble. Walden Media/Dial, 2010. 416 p. ISBN 978-0-8037-3307-7.

On his thirteenth birthday, Ledger finally inherits his own savvy, a unique superpower, just like the other members of his family.    Left to spend the summer trying to keep his savvy under control on his uncle’s farm, Ledger must learn how to scumble—or risk the exposure of his entire family.

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.


CCB Fall Hours and General Information

Note: See our October Calendar for any changes in these hours.

Monday: 10 am – 5 pm
Tuesday: 10 am – 7 pm
Wednesday: 3 pm – 7 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm
Friday: 10 am – 5pm

For more information about the CCB and our collection, please visit the About Us page on our website.

To stay up-to-date with CCB events and news, be sure to ‘like’ our brand-new Facebook page

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The Center for Children's Books | Graduate School of Library and Information Science | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 E. Daniel St. | Champaign, IL 61820 | 217-244-9331 |