East by Edith Pattou (0-15-204563-5)
This book is a retelling of the tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. It is the story of Rose who agrees to go with a white bear so that her sister can be healed and her family can prosper. The bear has been under an enchantment for 150 years that turned him from a boy into a bear. Rose lives with the bear in a palace that she is not allowed to leave. She is given no information on why she is there. The story is a detailed one that has aspects that entrance the reader. I don’t want to go into too many details here, because the story should be discovered as it progresses in the book.
If anyone is looking for books with strong female protagonists, this would be one to recommend. Rose is strong, faithful and brave. She is a fully formed character that comes alive in the story. The story is told from a variety of points of view, including Rose, the bear, the Troll Queen and Rose’s brother Neddy. This allows the reader to know more than Rose does about her situation, so the reader is not frustrated like Rose about not knowing about the cause and reason of her plight.
I strongly recommend this book for kids willing to tackle the nearly 500 pages. Though it is listed as a young adult book, there is nothing to stop a younger reader from reading it. It is pure adventure that will often have you reading faster and faster to see what happens.

Joliet Public Library's New Unattended Child Policy

The Shifted Librarian has a posting on Joliet Public Library’s new strict policy on unattended children.
“Under the policy, teens and pre-teens unaccompanied by a parent must sign in and show their library card or student ID before being allowed into the library.” Those without identification will be allowed to wait in a room with tables and chairs until a parent is contacted and says that they have a reason to be at the library.
I’m sure not sure that that makes much sense. Seems to me that all a kid needs to enter the library then is ID and an excuse. Will that really stop the rowdy kids from coming in? I also know from experience that even the kids there for a reason can be loud. That is part of serving children and teens.
I understand the need to address noise problems, but shouldn’t that be done with policies on noise in the library that are strongly enforced for all ages? It bothers me that this policy targets only specific ages of patrons.

SLJ Best Books of 2003

School Library Journal’s Best Books 2003
As a public librarian in a small library, I don’t get to read the reviews in SLJ the way I used to when I worked in a larger library. So I look forward to lists like this, because SLJ picks different books to highlight than Booklist and other resources. I love to compare the overlap and to discover the new titles.