A brief interruption from children’s books to librarianship instead:
Almost two years ago, I was on a panel at the WiLSWorld conference where I casually mentioned that we had managed to build the beginnings of a diverse staff at the Appleton Public Library where I’m Assistant Director.
The iSchool then invited me to do a one-hour presentation about diverse hiring. I went on to do the presentation at the Wisconsin Library Association last fall as well. This winter, iSchool once again approached me, this time to do a continuing education class about diverse hiring and retention.
I do not see myself as an expert on these subjects, more a practitioner who has learned a few things along the way. And I’ve learned even more as I researched the subject enough to fill an entire course.
The class I will teach this summer looks deeply at personal biases and privilege. It explores the deep whiteness of the library profession and how via hiring practices and approaches libraries can address that problem. My hope is that we can have great conversations about the issues and learn a lot together.
Now back to the children’s and teen lit focus!
Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh (9780062447814)
Plum could not be more different than her excitable sister, Ginny. Ginny has a group of friends at their private school, while Plum doesn’t have any at all. She’d much prefer to do advance reading for her classes than engage with others her age. Ginny is about to graduate from high school and longs to get accepted into her university of choice, but it’s not that simple. First, she has to be accepted and then she needs enough financial aid to attend. While they may live in a large home, it’s filled with clutter and day-to-day life rather than being a show piece. Feeling more and more distant from her ever-more-agitated sister, Plum finds herself in a position to help, but only because of a secret romance. Now Plum has her own life, but it may take her away from her family right when they need her.
This is a contemporary tale with a classic heart. Riffing on Sense and Sensibility, this novel for teens takes one rather old-fashioned young lady and her sister who is her opposite and flings at them the trials of modern life. There are the costs of living when their mother loses her royalty payments, the grueling college application and financial aid process, bullying, and of course, kissing too. It’s a book that offers two great female characters. Plum is introverted, wildly funny and wise. Ginny is anxiety-ridden, loud, dramatic and loving. The two together make an ideal look at sisterhood.
Thornburgh writes with a specific style here. It even more tightly ties the story to classic literature and also reveals Plum’s thoughts and her own way of thinking. The story never drags, instead it is filled with drama and disasters large and small. The writing is a delightful mix of classic and modern with plenty of humor too.
A deep look at sisterhood that is funny and rich. Appropriate for ages 12-15.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by HarperTeen.