Thursday, November 10, 2016

Author Kenneth Oppel visits Biblioteca Las Americas

Kenneth Oppel:
  • Born:      Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada
  • Website:
  • Genres:  Children's BooksYoung AdultThriller
  • Published 31 books.

Latest Books:
  • Every Hidden Thing (2016)
  • The Nest (2015)
  • The Boundless (2014)
  • Such Wicked Intent (2012)
  • The Dark Endeavour (2011)
  • Half Brother (2010)

Book Trailers:

Author Kenneth Oppel shared his experiences as a writer and encouraged students to persevere when faced with setbacks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Overdrive Books!! We have them at the BLA.

Read eBooks.

Listen to audiobooks.

Download the app to your phone.

Watch this video and learn how to get them.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book you Should Read: Pax by Sara Pennypacker


Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

HarperCollins Summary:

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today's most admired writers for teens.

Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.


Caden Bosch is a teenage boy descending into the world of schizophrenia.  His parents become alarmed when his symptoms begin to interfere with his real life.  The book is split up into two storylines:  Caden’s real world and Caden’s fantasy world.  Sometimes the two worlds come together and cause problems for Caden.

Readers may get a little frustrated with managing the two storylines but this style of writing is necessary to show how difficult it is for Caden to keep things sorted out for himself.  The book is beautifully written and was inspired by Schusterman’s own personal experience of watching his son Brendan, descend into schizophrenia.  Brendan even lent his personal drawings for the book to show what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

Just like Caden’s mind, it isn’t always clear where the story is going.   You might feel a little frustrated when you begin reading it but don’t stop reading it.  After a while you begin to sense the chaos within Caden’s mind because of this writing style.  There are some really beautiful moments that help the reader understand why Kaden’s fantasy world is so appealing.

This book is important because it brings about an awareness of mental illness.  And that mental illness can happen to almost anyone; even to people who have always seemed “normal”.

This book is a fascinating read; worthy of the National Book Award. 


  •  National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (2015)
  •  Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2016)
  • Booklist starred
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred
  • Horn Book Guide starred
  • Kirkus Reviews starred
  • Publishers Weekly starred
  • School Library Journal starred
  • Texas-Tayshas High School Reading List 2016
  • Voice of the Youth Advocates (VOYA)
  • Utah-Kiss The Book 2015: Secondary

Neal Shusterman discussing Challenger Deep:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book you should read: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.


This book was hard to put down.  It so short you can finish up in less than a few hours.
Joseph is a thirteen-year-old juvenile delinquent who just so happens to be a father.  When he is welcomed into twelve-year-old Jack's family as a foster child, you worry that this family may be in over their head with Joseph.

As the story progresses you find yourself wondering what events led to the circumstances Joseph finds himself in at the moment. You begin to feel compassion for his circumstances and wish that he can find a way to overcome his obstacles.
Of course being a father at thirteen is not an ideal situation for Joseph but throughout the story, you can't help but hope that he will be reunited with his daughter Jupiter. 

It's a great book and everyone should take the time to read.

A conversation with Author Gary Schmidt:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

BLA's Makerspace: A place to think, create and grow.

Have you noticed something different about our library?

The BLA Librarians are proud to announce that our library now has its very own makerspace area.  It is our sincere hope that our makerspace area will provide you with the tools to explore, collaborate and create.  Please feel free to use the materials provided in this area anytime.  

Why are makerspaces important?

Makerspaces are an exciting new service offered by libraries at all levels to promote an engaging atmosphere for learning and experimentation (Moorefield-Long 2015).  When makerspaces are incorporated into libraries, patrons are offered new opportunities to collaborate, learn through play, problem solve, build, investigate, and produce (Britton, 2012). 

BLA's Makerspace Area:

Makerspace Challenge:  Students created a self-writing machine.

Makerspace Challenge:  Students created a self-writing machine.

Plastic bins to store supplies.

Books to inspire creativity.

Makerspace tables with cutting boards.

Students creating with Legos.

Britton, L. (2012). The makings of maker spaces, part 1: Space for creation, not just
     consumption. The digital shift.

Moorefield-Lang, H. (2015). Change in the Making: Makerspaces and the Ever-Changing Landscape 
     of Libraries. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning59(3), 107-112.