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CCB Newsletter
February 2015


In this Newsletter…

News and Updates

14th Annual Book Sale

The CCB is gearing up for our annual book sale, which will be held from February 16-18 from 10 am to 6 pm each day. Thousands of brand-new children’s books will be available for youth ages birth through high school. The titles available represent the full spectrum of children’s publishing in fiction and non-fiction: board books, picture books, easy and transitional readers, chapter books, series fiction, novels, activity books and kits, non-fiction series, mass-market paperbacks, and more.

Paperback books sell for $1 or $2 each, hardcover books $5 each, and special items are priced as marked.

For the best selection of the book sale, we encourage you to attend the pre-sale, which will be held on February 15. A ticketed reservation is required for the pre-sale, and the tickets sell out quickly. We’re currently taking reservations, and will continue to do so through February 9; you may call (217) 244-9331 or email to reserve a ticket.

For further information about the book sale or the pre-sale, please see our Book Sale webpage.

Gryphon Award Announced

The CCB is pleased to announce the 2015 Gryphon Award winner: Skateboard Party by Karen English. English not only knows her grade-school kids but also her grade-school classrooms, and the result is a school and family story that contemporary kids will instantly recognize; the appealing protagonist’s struggle with procrastination is matter-of-factly but sympathetically treated, and it will strike a chord with many readers.

The Gryphon Award committee also recognized three honor books:

  • Gravity, written and illustrated by Jason Chin
  • The Slug, written and illustrated by Elise Gravel
  • Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch, written and illustrated by Eric Orchard

The Gryphon Award is presented annually to the author of an outstanding English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in kindergarten through fourth grade. The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers. More information about the award can be found at the CCB Gryphon Award webpage.

The Gryphon Award winners, as well as the 2014 Bulletin Blue Ribbons and winners from the recently announced ALA Youth Media Awards are on display in the CCB on the awards shelf. We invite you to come take a look at these distinguished books for yourself.

February Calendar

  • Wednesday, February 11: Youth Lit Book Club, 5-6 pm
    Reading Chime by Franny Billingsley
  • Sunday, February 15: CCB Annual Pre-sale, 1-4 pm, GSLIS East Foyer

    For more information, please visit the Book Sale webpage.
  • Monday, February 16-Wednesday, Februrary 18: Fourteenth Annual CCB Book Sale
    One of our biggest events of the year: We’ll have thousands of book for ages 0-18 for sale at greatly discounted rates every day from 10am-6pm each day in the CCB. For more information, please visit the Book Sale webpage.

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

New Bibliographies on the CCB Website

We Need Diverse Covers
Created by Alice Mitchell, CCB GA

Spy Tales: True and Fictional Accounts of Espionage
Created by Michelle Biwer, CCB GA

Our Affiliates Out and About

Associate professor and Bulletin reviewer Christine Jenkins has written a new book entitled Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens: Coming Out, Being Out, and the Search for Community with co-author Michael Cart. This annotated bibliography of LGBT-themed young adult titles includes fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, and reference material, with an emphasis on recently published works. Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens will be released on March 2, 2015.

Associate professor and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Kate McDowell recently attended the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Centennial Celebration, held in Chicago, Illinois January 27-30. McDowell will be serving as the co-chair for the January 2016 conference, which will be held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Also at the ALISE Centennial Celebration, PhD students Melissa Hayes and Deanza Williams presented a Works in Progress poster session on January 27 entitled “#Diverse Children’s Literature: Examining Social Media’s Role.”

Bulletin reviewer and associate professor of English Karen Coats has received the Outstanding University Researcher Award for 2015 from Illinois State University, in recognition of her research and her contribution to the discipline.

Associate professor Carol Tilley will be presenting a talk about comics and literacy at the February 17th dinner meeting of the Altrusa Club of Champaign-Urbana.

Feature: Teen Library Accessibility: An Interview with Michelle Biwer & Sharon Irish

Last semester, students from myriad institutions and disciplines collaborated in a distributed open collaborative course (DOCC) created by FemTechNet, a network of scholars, students, and artists interested in feminist science-technology studies. At the University of Illinois, the DOCC entitled “Collaborations in Feminism and Technology” included students from Art and Design, LIS, and more, led by instructor Sharon Irish. In conjunction with this class, CCB GA Michelle Biwer explored the issue of accessibility for teen library patrons, ultimately compiling a LibGuide designed for teen librarians or library students interested in learning more about accessibility. We were happy to sit down with her and Irish to learn more about this informative collection.

Biwer describes her motivation behind this project: “I wanted to learn more about what I could do to make sure that when I’m running the children’s department in a library that I understand the best way to get out information that’s accessible to everyone…. What I did was create booklists featuring characters with disabilities, some more fun tips for increasing accessibility in programming, and also just tips for making your website more accessible.”

As part of this project, Biwer investigated the accessibility of many popular social media and blogging sites, with disheartening results. Wordpress and Twitter took the top spots for their functionality with screen readers, but as Biwer notes, “those aren’t really the most happening teen places, particularly Wordpress.” It turns out that the most popular sites for teens are also some of the least accessible, especially Tumblr. “For probably the most progressive social media platform, [Tumblr is] also the least accessible,” Biwer explains. “It is a good way to reach people, so I wouldn’t say ‘don’t use Tumblr,’ but if you’re trying to reach a certain demographic, do it in tandem with something else.”

Irish notes that this project resonated well with the topics discussed throughout the class. “One of the core values of FemTechNet is accessibility, and accessibility is a feminist practice and value.” Irish also considers related issues through her work as a Project Coordinator at the Center for Digital Inclusion. “The CDI is a research hub that works on ways in which people either don’t have access to information technologies, or who don’t use it effectively, or who want to use it more effectively.” As with many GSLIS projects, it builds on previous work with the community: “It continues the legacy from Prairienet and other iterations of looking at ways communities use information technologies.”

Ultimately, as Irish observes, “There are so many things to think about [in terms of accessibility], tweaks that aren’t that big, if you could just add them to your repertoire, it would be super good. I also think that we should talk about all of us about being ‘temporarily able-bodied,’ because I think we all are.” For those interested in learning more about accessibility in libraries, Biwer and Irish have several recommendations. “The accessibility committee for FemTechNet argues against having a separate class; the idea is to have it integrated into everything—easier said than done, of course.” Irish notes that design fields can be unexpected places to investigate the issue, citing Dr. Deana McDonagh’s course in industrial design in which able-bodied students worked with students living with disabilities to increase leisure participation for people with disabilities. Biwer particularly recommends two sources as a good starting point for learning about accessibility: a library accessibility checklist distributed by IFLA and a website called Wave, which allows you to evaluate your own website for accessibility.

Biwer’s LibGuide and the full transcript of this interview can be found in the research section of our website along with further recommended reading from both Biwer and Irish.

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.

Alice’s Choice: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
Reading Level: Gr. 8-12
Pages: 403
Publisher and Year: Simon Pulse, 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4424-4182-8
Price: $17.99

Penny is less than pleased with her step-mother April’s insistence that Penny join her in renovating the Carver House, a dilapidated, fire-damaged historical house in Point Finney. In typical horror fashion, the townspeople of Point Finney are suspicious of Penny and April and what they want with the old house on the edge of the North Woods. As April grows increasingly frustrated by contractors refusing to come out to the house, Penny grows alarmed by the back room on the second floor – more specifically, the mural of a little red-headed boy in the back room that keeps changing and appearing in her dreams. As her curiosity grows, she hears whispers about a group of children who were lost in the North Woods for six months before they returned one by one, although they were never quite themselves afterwards. West leads readers through a frightening tale of selfishness and redemption that is a credit to the horror genre. The book has a tangible ability to create tension in its reader, setting the spooky tone of Penny’s ordeal from page one, refusing to let up until the reader reaches the end. Penny, for her part, is a well-developed character struggling with grief and guilt all while dealing with strange tapping at her window and noises from the room next door. Readers will surely want to leave the light on while they get wrapped up in this terrifying story that will leave them scared stiff.

Michelle’s Choice: I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
Pages: 321
Publisher and Year: Viking, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-451-47147-5
Price: $18.99
Cody does not understand why her best friend, Meg, recently committed suicide. Meg appeared to have a charmed life complete with a loving family, in contrast to Cody’s struggles with her mom, Tricia, an absentee single parent and not exactly the traditional “parenting” type. Previously under the impression that she and Meg shared everything with each other, Cody has difficulty accepting that her best friend would do something like this with no warning. When Meg’s parents ask Cody to pack up Meg’s college room, Cody discovers Meg’s roommates saw a very different side of Meg, also uncovering some suspicious circumstances surrounding Meg’s death. Inspired by evidence involving Meg’s potential love interest, Ben, as well as a mysteriously encrypted folder on Meg’s computer, Cody launches her own investigation into Meg’s death. It takes Cody a long time to come to the realization that she did not know Meg as well as she thought she did, and that our inner lives are often too easily concealed in a world where mental illness is a stigmatized and rarely discussed topic. I Was Here fits into the road trip/mystery genre, but here the mystery is not as important as the journey, which helps Cody to step back and reevaluate her own mental health, as well as learn how to deal with the loss of Meg. While the romance falls into clichéd territory—the bad boy musician changes his ways for the “good girl” protagonist—Meg and Cody’s powerful and meaningful friendship is ultimately the most important relationship in this novel. Recommended for fans of Forman’s bestseller If I Stay, as well as those who like their psychological novels served with friendship and an exploration of issues surrounding mental health.

Anna’s Choice: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Reading Level: Gr. 8-12
Pages: 320
Publisher and Year: Harper Teen, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7
Price: $17.99

Born with ordinary Red blood in a world controlled by supernaturally gifted Silverbloods, seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow has spent her life doing anything possible to provide for her family and protect her friends in their impoverished Red town. When she almost dies in an accident while working in the Silverblood city, Mare discovers her own impossible supernatural ability in a blinding display before the Silverblood king and the entire ruling class. In an effort to conceal her true nature—and its dangerous implications—the royal family declares her a long-lost Silverblood, promises her to their prince, and forces her into their world of power and intrigue, where one wrong move will cost Mare her life and the lives of those she left behind. As Mare finds her own ways to rebel against the hated Silvers, she becomes involved in a Red rebellion that turns out to be much more of a threat than Mare or any of the Silvers had imagined. Finding unexpected allies among the Silvers, Mare is confronted with a more nuanced picture of the conflict than either side would have her believe, while constantly reminding herself that nobody can be trusted. Class rebellions, love triangles, and a dizzying array of supernatural abilities are all familiar to the genre, but they are woven together in a way that is ultimately unexpected and entirely captivating. Following the nerve-wracking conclusion, readers will be counting the days until the next book in this trilogy is released.

Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Geisert, Arthur. Thunderstorm; written and illus. by Arthur Geisert. Brooklyn: Enchanted Lion, 2013. ISBN 978-1-59270-133-9.

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

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