john green

Good Afternoon Green Brothers, it's Tuesday!

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Good Afternoon Green Brothers, it's Tuesday! For those of you who are not John or Hank, Tuesdays are the best days! This is not only because there is normally a new vlogbrother video to view, but ALSO because it is NEW RELEASE DAY! Speaking of New Release Days, there is one in October, that the entire Vroman's Staff is SUPER EXCITED for: October 10th!

Why? Because John Green's new book, Turtles All The Way Down will be out! Here is a summary taken from the Penguin Random House website:

About a month ago, the Children's Staff (including Manager, Ashlee) and I were asked to come up with John Green event ideas to promote this new story. We were thrilled! However, this event, or series of events would be Green-less. Still, we were eager to celebrate our Lead Nerdfighter!

THEN, our Promotions Director said that she was going to try to get an event with not just one Green Brother, but BOTH! Hi Hank! It was then, that we knew we needed to do something extra special.

Children's bookseller, Emily, and I decided to make two tribute videos (in a vlogbrother-like fashion). Below you will find: one in their normal (but way less professional, & sorry about that awful freeze frame!) style, and one in their "Thoughts From Places" style.

John, Hank, (& everyone else) I hope you enjoy!!

 

Homes: A History & a Place Called Vroman's Bookstore

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& Thoughts From Places:Quiet Contemplation in a Pasadena Landmark

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John, Hank, we would LOVE it if you make Vroman's a stop on your tour. Vroman's means so much to us, and we think that you both would love it too.

If not, we hope that you will visit us one day! Here's wishing you both much success in all you do!

<3 Jen In the Bookstore & the Children's Department Staff (probably MOST of our staff actually)

 

**AlSO, you can pre-order (while supplies last) a signed copy of Turtles All the Way Down, here!**

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Lara Jean & Danielle, Danielle

2013-10-13 15.41.26 This is my friend, Danielle.

She is one of my closest friends and as of last Wednesday is now 5 hours away.

You see, Danielle got a great publishing job and has gone to pursue her dreams. However, prior to last Wednesday, she was the manager at Vroman's Hastings Ranch. Before that, she was my manager in the Children's Department.

Danielle started working at Vroman's towards the end of 2013. The photo above, is one of the first pictures that I have of her on my computer. I am not sure exactly what it was for...whether it was me coercing her into some type of social media post, or what. However, what I do know, is that our friendship started with books.

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When I first met Danielle, I remember being very skeptical. I had already been in the Children's Department and didn't know how I felt about a new Manager. This changed when my Mom came by one day, to pick up some board books for my cousin's new baby. I recall being at the desk, handing my Mom Kitten's First Full Moon (because I need to give all children a Kevin Henkes title) and explaining to Danielle my love for Kevin's work (which I do, to feel out all new people in my life-if they don't love Kevin, they are a no-go). I feel like Danielle was distracted, maybe working on something? Regardless, she let it slip that she had actually MET and HOSTED Kevin FREAKING Henkes at her old store. This was before I had met him and was thrilled that somebody actually knew how he was in-person. Again, I will refer you to the title of my blog: Confessions of a Starstruck Bookseller. I can be a little cray sometimes. I admit it. This was my favorite author though! Remember too, that this was 2013 Jen, I was only 22...I still had growing up to do! I digress. From that moment, whilst devouring every detail she would give me, I decided she was okay in my book. :)

Throughout her years as my Manager, Danielle would attempt to persuade me to read books that she had loved. Some I read and others, I didn't. Two of the titles, I hadn't were Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. I'm not really sure why I never got around to them, but think that it was probably just so our department could have a variety of different recommendations for customers. However, as fate would have it, I would read both in the weeks prior to her leaving.

Let's start with Will Grayson, Will Grayson . This book was beautiful. More about friendship than anything else, two boys named Will Grayson navigate growing up, finding love, and finding their place in the world. Without giving spoilers, while also giving a special shout out to my new fictional friend Tiny Cooper, this book allows readers to see the errors that people make, potential ways to fix those errors, and what relationships (all relationships) mean to people.

In To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Lara Jean struggles with her older sister, Margot, going away to college, while also dealing with the aftermath of love letters she previously wrote, being sent out in the world that were never supposed to be seen. Lara Jean had an innocence to her that I loved seeing on paper. An innocence that was different than other protagonists I had seen in the past.

I was talking to my friend Tiffany today, who mentioned how young Lara Jean seemed. We discussed a point in the book, where (spoiler alert???) Lara Jean gets in a car accident and just cries. My friend said she was frustrated with this. However, I replied that although I haven't been in a car accident in years, that the last one I was in (that was totally my fault), I ended up crying for hours. I cried even though I was not hurt and didn't have a scratch on my body.

All that aside, the book reminded me of another I had read recently, Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis. This might be the point in my post, where you realize all of the components of my title. :) Zinnia, like Lara Jean, also had a sibling leave her. Below is a segment from my Goodreads review: "When Zinnia’s older brother and best friend, Adam, disappears without a proper goodbye, Zinnia is left feeling very alone. This changes slightly (although not in a good way) when a colony of bees decide that Zinnia’s hair makes for a good temporary home. Told in alternating perspectives, between Zinnia and the bees in her hair, this is a story about finding your home, and balancing the feelings of change. "

In both To All the Boys I've Loved Before & Zinnia and the Bees, Lara Jean and Zinnia have to figure out a way to live in a world without their older siblings, how to be independent and find their place, without the one person that was their constant support and guide. This is the moment where I tell you, that I felt exactly the same, an overwhelming sense of loss that my friend Danielle was leaving. She was my guide. She was my support. She made me into an even better bookseller than I already was. She helped me navigate issues at work and issues in my personal life. She helped me become an adult. And although, she had been at our branch store for a year (? maybe more?), she continued to help me in being the best bookseller I could be. How would that change as she left?

In all the books that I have mentioned, the characters, both Will Graysons, Lara Jean and Zinnia, have these intense friendships, and ways that they deal with intricacies of each of those relationships. The support that these character's friends give, give our protagonists the ability to be themselves completely. No judgement. No ridicule. I loved the messages that came out of the three and realized that even though my friend had moved, it wasn't like, she was not a text or phone call away. :)

I guess the point of this post, is as simple as stating that I am going to MISS my friend. However, I know that she is going to do incredible things in her new position. I also have the encouragement and hope that I can be a guide and mentor for another bookseller, just as Danielle was to me. I can also KEEP READING. Everyone gets something different out of the same book. Everyone feels or relates to different things. Danielle helped guide me at Vroman's, but I will continue to make my place there.

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<3 Jen in the Bookstore

P.s. Zinnia and the Bees goes on sale, August 1st! Help support this amazing book, by picking up a copy at Vroman's or by joining Danielle Davis at Skylight Books for her launch!

 

 

Happy Mother's Day to All the Book Mom's Who Helped Raise Me & Those I Wish Had

Happy Mother's Day, Moms of the world! I wanted to write this post, because of 1) Mother's Day, 2) there aren't actually a lot of Mom's featured in Children and Teen Literature, & 3) of the ones that are, they are pretty BAD ASS.

Growing up, I got pretty lucky. Not only did I have a Mom who was constantly giving up her time, energy and kindness to others & myself, BUT I ALSO had many book mothers. These Mom's (like my own-i'm not trying to get in trouble here ;) ) were strong. They fought for their kids. They protected them, cheered for them and were their number one fans. In reading about them, along with my own mother's praise, I think I managed to get a pretty big head. I can hear you all saying, "nooooo". However, humor aside, I learned how to implement all of these women's qualities into my own life. I grew up knowing the kind of person I wanted to be and continue to strive to be like them.

The women I'm  talking about are featured in the following titles:

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

Favorite Quote (relating to Moms):

"At night I would trace my fingers around the edges of each animal on the quilt before I went to sleep I told my mother stories about the animals on the quilt. She told me whose sleeve had made the horse, whose apron had made the chicken, whose dress had made the flowers, and whose babushka went around the edge of the quilt." (Patricia Polacco)

This whole story is about family (Patricia's to be exact), and their tradition of keeping a special quilt alive. The reason I picked the quote above, was because it encourages storytelling between a Mother and her child.

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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

I think by now, you all (as readers of my blog) should know that I have a thing with Kevin Henkes' work. BUT REALLY. He writes families and growing up so beautifully.

Here is my favorite quote:

""Oh, pish," said her mother. "Your name is beautiful."

"And precious and priceless and fascinating and winsom," said her father.

"It's everything you are," said her mother." (Kevin Henkes)

I think the reason I picked this quote is self-explanatory. I love that not only did her mother say that her name was beautiful, but also that it encompassed Chrysanthemum herself.  Heartfelt confidence boosters are always a plus in my book.

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The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

I'm sorry you all! I just love Kevin's work! In The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin splits up Billy's life into four parts-His Dad, Mom, sister and teacher.

The quote I love most is at the end of the book, but if you haven't read it, DON'T WORRY! I really don't think that this will give away anything.

"He scanned the crowd for Mama, and he saw her instantly. She was right at the foot of the stage. Their eyes connected, and he knew that she'd been watching him. She'd heard him, even without the microphone on. She was smiling and nodding. " (Kevin Henkes)

I love this, because of how in-tune their connection is with one another. I think it speaks volumes in how Mom's kind of just know what's going on with their children instinctively.

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

This story, while about Cat and Maya, actually features their Mother's heritage a lot. While her daughters learn more about it and Dia de los Muertos, their mother states:

“I was your typical, stubborn American teenager. I wanted to do things the ‘modern’ way. I guess after your Abuela died . . . a lot of old traditions died with her.” (Raina Telgemeier)

I love this intimate look at a Mom and how she explains why her daughters are just discovering more of her.

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Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Man, oh man, J.K. Rowling KNOWS how to write Mothers. The two I am sticking with for this post are Lily Potter and Molly Weasley. Below, you will find explanations in the form of quotes or statements of why they are great Moms:

Let's start with Molly-

""No one's denying what he's done!" said Mrs. Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. "But he's still-"

"He's not a child!" said Sirius impatiently.

"He's not an adult either!" said Mrs. Weasley, the color rising in her cheeks. "He's not James, Sirius!""(J.K. Rowling)

This is a hard quote, no one is denying that. It's hard because Harry finally has a father figure in his life-a parent that he never got to have...EXCEPT for the fact that Molly has been a mother figure to him, ever since they met. Molly feels the same about Harry as one of her own children. This quote puts on page, that struggle. The struggle of wanting Harry to have someone, but also not wanting to give up her motherly duties towards him.

And then Lily-

I can't find the exact quotes at the moment- but Harry survived so much because of Lily. Her love, gave him protection from the most evil being in his world-more than once. Her love placed a protection over her sister's home, so that Harry would be safe there AND gave him protection in the form of Professor Snape. The main reason why Harry is able to defeat Voldemort SO MANY TIMES, is because of her love. So as readers, we know that it has to be incredibly strong.

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Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Oh Wonder, how you made me cry. Like Henkes' The Year of Billy Miller, R. J. Palacio saves her tear-jerker for the end of her novel, in this quote:

"“You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”" (R. J. Palacio)

Auggie's Mother puts so much of her love and joy into this sentence that it makes your heart swell.

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I chose the graphic novel version of this title, because there are some really sweet illustrated scenes between Percy and his Mom.

However, here is a quote from the book:

"When she looks at me, it's like she's seeing all the good things about me, none of the bad. I've never heard her raise her voice or say an unkind word to anyone..." (Rick Riordan)

This also radiates love. It's especially cool to see Percy realize the way his mom feels about him. Sally Jackson had to deal with so much, being Percy's Mom, the mom of a Demigod. However, she did it with so much strength, while fighting to make sure Percy was safe and happy.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Natalie Prior in Divergent is similar to that of Lily Potter or Sally Jackson. She too gives up her life for her child, and just like Percy, Tris knew exactly what her Mother must have been thinking.

"My mother's death was brave I remember how calm she was, how determined. It isn't just brave that she died for me; it is brave that she did it without announcing it, without hesitation, and without appearing to consider another option." (Veronica Roth)

Tris gets to see her Mother for who she was, while figuring out what bravery REALLY means. 

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This is another I don't have an exact quote for. However, our main character Starr's Mother, Lisa, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a fierce protector like the other Moms I've mentioned, but also knows how to give her daughter freedom. She steps back and lets her daughter make her own choices- whether it's boys or deciding what message she wants to share with the world. She also keeps secrets for her. She knows when to step in and when to step back, and that's something that I really appreciated about her character.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Frannie Lancaster is the Mom in this book. Though she is actually a bit over protective at times (can you blame her, her child is dying of cancer), she always has Hazel's best interest at heart. When Hazel wants to go to Amsterdam to meet and author, Mrs. Lancaster accompanies her and Gus there!

""What can we do?" Mom asked again.

I shrugged.

But she kept asking, as if there were something she could do, until I just kind of crawled across the couch into her lap and my dad came over and held my legs really tight and I wrapped my arms all the way around my mom's middle and they held on to me for hours while the tide rolled in." (John Green)

I love the quote above because it shows how much a simple hug or the act of holding, can soothe a child. Sometimes that is what they need. I felt like Hazel's Mom was always ready for a hug.

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If I stay by Gayle Forman

Ugh. Similar to the book or two above, this was a rough read. The Mom in it, Kat Hall, although very different from her child, still manages to connect with her. As Mia loves classical music more and more, Kat and Mia's Dad buy her her own cello. Kat praises Mia and roots her on and she is waiting for an acceptance to Juliard. She is her biggest fan and I loved that about her character.

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ALSO, for those of you who can't or do not celebrate Mother's Day, I would recommend the following:

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

This is a beautiful story. Stella doesn't have a Mom that she can bring to her class's Mother's Day celebration, so she brings her Dads...and a few other family members. It is sweet, funny and gives another perspective on the Holiday.

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and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Circus Mirandus is about a boy who was raised by his Grandfather. Now that his Grandfather is gravely sick, Micah will do whatever it takes to get a mysterious lightbender to give him a miracle. I chose this book to feature because I know there are a lot of kids out there, who are raised by their Grandparents. The relationship between Micah and his Grandfather was endearing and would be a perfect read for some of those kids, as well as others.

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That's it for this post! I hope you have a wonderful Holiday with those you hold dear, whether it be your Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, the opposite (Dad, Uncle or Grandfather), or even a really close friend.

<3 Jen in the Bookstore

My Favorite Books Are Banned Books

Last week, my post was titled, My Favorite Books Are Audiobooks”. As a follow up, this week’s post will be titled, “My Favorite Books Are Banned Books”. The reason for this being that today, is the last day of Banned Books Week!

What is Banned Books Week? It is a week where we celebrate THE RIGHT TO READ WHATEVER WE WANT AND NOT BE CENSORED. It’s a pretty important week to anyone who loves books and the right to choose. To learn more you can click HERE.

Additionally, click HERE to see Vroman’s Kid’s Dept.’s awesome display!

Above are some of my favorite Banned Books. Below you will be able to purchase them and see why they were/are “banned”.

1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, banned for “pornography and glorification of drinking, cursing & premarital sex”. Why I love it? Because it is an important book that encourages those who have been raped to speak up and not stay silent.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry, banned for “anti-family values and occult themes”. Why I love it? Because it shows a child who experiences, pain, joy and love for the first time in an extremely controlled society. Seeing those feelings/emotions on the page=magic.

3. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling, banned for “occult themes, witchcraft and wizardry”. This one I can’t really fight, but COME ON. If you don’t want to read it, don’t. But don’t ban it from children who can enter the wonderful world that is HARRY POTTER. Why I love it? IT IS HARRY POTTER. My Dad read the 1st book to me as a little seven year old, and I was instantly captivated by Harry and his friends. Who isn’t?

4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, banned for “profanity & sexuality”. Why I love it? It is diverse, it is sweet, it is about first love and it is REAL. 

5. Paper Towns by John Green, banned for “language & sexual references”. Why I love it? It is full of adventure, discovery, and has that kick ass road trip with your friends that you have always wanted to do.

 

Read Banned Books. Celebrate the freedom to read what you want, when you want. -Jen