Monday, December 28, 2009


The word leviathan means something that is the largest or most massive thing of its kind. The Leviathan in Scott Westerfeld's novel is a huge airship - something like a blimp or a dirigible - only this huge ship is alive!

Leviathan is a steampunk science fiction novel. Steampunk novels remind you of Jules Verne, who wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Although the world seems old-fashioned with steam-powered locomotives or ships - it is also futuristic with new and marvelous inventions or creations.

Leviathan is also an alternate-history science fiction novel. It is takes place in the weeks during the beginning of World War I. The event that sparked the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In this story, Alek is his son. Now that his parents are dead, their enemies are after him! He escapes with a few of his father's loyal men in a Clanker machine called a walker. This is also the story of Deryn Sharp, who is hiding her real identity as a girl so that she can fulfill her dream of flying in airships, especially the living airship Leviathan.

Leviathan is an action-filled novel with exciting battle scenes. It is also lavishly illustrated with fascinating and detailed drawings of this original world. Click on the title above to see examples of these marvelous illustrations.

Click here to read the first chapter of Leviathan online.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Born to Fly

Bird McGill loves anything about airplanes. Her dad is a pilot and has taken her on several flights. He even lets her take the controls sometimes. Her dream is to fly the P-40 Warhawk, for which her dad has given her the manual.

World War II is going on. When the news of the Pearl Harbor bombing spreads, Bird's dad is called up to fly for the Army Air Corps. At the same time, she reluctantly befriends a Japanese-American boy. Together they discover that there is a traitor in their small town. How they eventually uncover him makes for a real adventure story. Bird is a fearless heroine who will capture your heart.

The author, Michael Ferrari, is a sixth grade English teacher who wrote this story for his two daughters and also for the young girl he saw at a World War II air show. The girl's brother told her that girls could never be fighter pilots. He never met Bird!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Reading it is like reading an art object, for the book is filled with lovely paintings. Grace Lin, the author and artist, has created not only a beautiful book but a beautiful tale.

A young girl named Minli lives with her mother and father in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain - where nothing lives or grows. Minli listens to the folktales her father tells, especially the stories of Fruitless Mountain, the Jade Dragon and her children.

One day Minli encounters a magical goldfish with the power of speech. Following his directions she sets off on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon, hoping he can restore fortune to her family. Along the way she meets Dragon, the only one of his kind that cannot fly.

The author, Grace Lin, skillfully weaves the traditional folktales in and out of her story of Minli's quest. This is a small treasure of a book and it is hard to put it down.

When you visit the Media Center, stop by the aquarium. You will find Dragon - who cannot fly - surrounded by goldfish. Can you quess who might possess the magical ability to speak?

Click here to see a virtual tour of Grace Lin's art studio, where she creates her works of art.