Posted in Library News

Pennsylvania Reader’s Choice Award – A Vote Equals a Voice!

Have you ever watched an awards show and thought, “I NEVER would have voted for that movie to win!” Or have you read an award-winning book and thought, “Really?! What were they thinking?!” If so, the Pennsylvania Readers’ Choice Award is for you! This is a book award that gives you, the reader, a voice! Every year, fifteen of the very best books are nominated. These books are all written by North American authors, and have been published within the last five years. They really are the best of the best, but the winning book needs your vote!

Participating in the Pennsylvania Readers’ Choice Award is a snap. Here’s how to do it:

  • Read (or listen to) at least three books from the list of nominated titles
  • You do not have to read every book to participate
  • Vote for your favorite book in March!

That’s all there is to it. Stop by the library to pick up a bookmark with the list of nominated titles. Better yet, check out one of the books while you’re here! And once you’ve read a book or two, leave a comment sharing your thoughts about it. Some things you might include in your comment are:

  • Did the book live up to your expectations based on the plot summary?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?
  • Did you like this book more or less than other books you’ve read recently?
  • Would you vote for this book to win the Pennsylvania Readers’ Choice Award?

Remember, your favorite book needs YOUR vote to win!

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Think Happy to BE Happy!

Think Happy: Instant Peptalks to Boost Positivity by Karen Salmansohn has just appeared on the horizon at the Ridley High School Library! Paging through this book will give you some of the positive peptalks that will help you stay motivated and upbeat throughout the school year. 


With charming illustrations and watercolor washes, Karen Salmansohn presents the right words to say during a challenging time, either to yourself or to a friend. Her message sometimes pushes into eye-roll territory (like when she encourages readers to foster an inner voice that’s a cheerleader instead of a “fearleader”). However, she backs up her “mindfully crafted peptalks” with research that proves how they work: by wiring our neural pathways for positivity. My favorite anecdote? Before he crossed the bridge to the Land of the Highly Awesome, Michael Phelps was afraid to put his face in the water! Proving that … EveryExpert.pngAnother favorite provides some words to guide your school year. Take them to heart and THINK HAPPYCompetitionKaren Salmansohn speaks frequently on how to increase your happiness, creativity, and productivity. She showcases her philosophy on positivity in this 2013 TEDx talk, “Fun is Your High-Performance Fuel”:

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of Think Happy in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Gluten-Free (and SO good!)

Did you know that the Ridley High School Library has an amazing collection of cookbooks? True story! And one of the best things about this section of the library (also known as 641.5) is the variety. We’ve got a sprinkling of celebrity cookbooks, regional recipes, vegetarian victuals, and special-diet selections. The latest addition to our cookery category is Gluten-Free for Good: Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made from Scratch by Samantha Seneviratne.GlutenFree.jpgSeneviratne is a New York-based food writer, recipe developer, food stylist, and former food editor … so basically, an expert! And her philosophy is simple: “I wrote this book to help you create tasty meals, mostly from scratch, that will please both gluten-free and conventional eaters alike.” She describes prepackaged gluten-free foods as “forgeries and imposters,” and her recipes prove that preparing delicious gluten-free food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is easier than you might think. Her chapters cover the essentials of the gluten-free pantry, breakfast and brunch, soup and salad, “hearty mains,” snacks, and dessert. Here are some recipes from each category that I can’t wait to try:

  • Smoked Gouda Grits with Eggs and Arugula
  • Kale and Red Lentil Soup
  • White Pizza with Blistered Tomatoes
  • Coconut Roasted Chickpeas
  • Upside-Down Plum Cake

The section on flavorful Homemade Essentials (such as chicken broth) is especially helpful, but the lusciously photographed food is the real star of the show:Granola.pngSo whether you are considering a serious shift in your diet or simply looking for a new recipe to test out on your friends and family, look no further. Scoop up Gluten-Free for Good on the first day of school!

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of Gluten-Free for Good in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in new books, nonfiction

Sometimes Truth is Stranger than Fiction!

As soon as school opens, stop by the library to pick up some of these brand new, all-true titles on display in our nonfiction section. We’ve got an amazing selection of memoirs, travelogues, cookbooks, natural history, real-life mystery, and more! Read one and then decide for yourself: is truth really stranger than fiction? In the meantime, check out this freshly updated list of intriguing nonfiction books that will be available soon in the Ridley High School Library!



Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Beautiful Food to Share!

Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share by Kristin Donnelly has just been served up in the Ridley High School Library! The author created this eye-catching new cookbook “to give people updated, foolproof, crowd-pleasing recipes that will hold up on the buffet table and are also just a little bit impressive.” True to its subtitle, Modern Potluck is full to the brim with absolutely beautiful food that’s designed to share.


Modern Potluck is organized in a traditional fashion, with chapters dedicated to snacks, salads, slow-cooked dishes, casseroles, side dishes, and sweets. My favorite feature is the introductory section on “Rules of the Potluck.” Here, Donnelly presents helpful lists of what makes a great potluck dish, what hosts should know, and what guests should know. Her suggestions for potential potluck themes are inspired: global street food, your grandmother’s favorite recipe (your way), local pride, stand the heat, and more. There’s also a note about food safety, an especially important consideration for potluck food that may spend hours on a buffet table.

Most recipes are accompanied by full-page, full-color photos like the spice-roasted carrots with lentils that appear on the book’s cover. There’s also a helpful “Potluck Prep” tip for each dish, as well as a note about which recipes are gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. Donnelly features some truly inventive recipes:

  • No-Bake Sweet Pea Enchiladas with Sofrito and Seeds
  • Samosa-Filling Stuffed Poblanos
  • Smoky Squash Mac & Cheese
  • Kimchi and Kale “Caesar” Salad
  • Spiced Carrot and Goat Cheese Strudel
  • Plum-Ginger Coffee Cake with Coconut


The only downside? Well, as you might have guessed already, these recipes aren’t really designed for beginner cooks. But whether you’re a first-time foodie or a potluck pro, you’ll find a mix of motivation and inspiration in this book’s delectable pages.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of Modern Potluck in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Blogging for Books, new books, nonfiction, science, STEM

It’s a Scientific Fact: Women Rock!

If you enjoyed Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — And the World by Rachel Swaby, your next must-read has arrived!WomenScienceWomen in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Each two-page profile features a whimsical portrait, a quote, and a brief essay about the scientist’s life and legacy. This format makes the book perfect for both browsing and research. Here’s an example:


On her website, Rachel Ignotofsky writes that she hopes to “use her work to spread her message about education, gender equality and scientific literacy.” With Women in Science, she is off to an excellent start! These essays provide a strong entry point for learning about each woman (some of whom risked everything in the name of science), as well as expanding your overall knowledge of scientific inquiry and research. A timeline and special chapters on Lab Tools and Statistics in STEM enhance the text. More information about the book, additional excerpts, and further resources are available at ReadWomenInScience.com.

Women in Science will be available soon in the Ridley High School Library! Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in audiobooks, Library News

Just Add Listening!

Both summer and back-to-school are busy times of year, and sometimes enjoyment reading falls to the bottom of to-do lists for students and teachers alike. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to incorporate books into your day, whether you are catching up on a bestseller, revisiting a classic novel, or simply trying something different. The Ridley High School Library’s selection of 200+ audiobooks is always growing, and we have a fresh batch of books-on-CD to kick off the new school year! Here are a few of my favorites (just click the book title for an audio excerpt and more information):


For students with reading challenges, listening can really help to fill in any gaps in comprehension. Skilled narrators use their voices to establish mood, heighten drama, and alert listeners to pivotal plot developments. Audiobooks also play a role in the library’s commitment to diverse literature by offering authentic representations of language and dialogue, and providing a “literacy bridge” for emerging readers. So please consider diversifying your reading with an audiobook from the Ridley High School Library! Happy listening.


Posted in Blogging for Books, new books

Something New in the Graphic Novel Section!

In The Drawing Lesson, a boy named David meets an artist named Becky in the park as she sketches the scene before her. She grudgingly agrees to give him a quick lesson on drawing what he sees, comparing his version to the real thing, and making his sketch more accurate. The chapter concludes with an assignment for the reader: “Now it’s your turn. Find a simple object in your home and try to draw it.”

As David bumps into (and seeks out) Becky again and again, she walks him through the finer points of shading, understanding light and shadow, using negative space, checking proportions, and creating a composition. I especially love how these chapters are represented through comics panels in the Table of Contents:

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In his Introduction to The Drawing Lesson, Mark Crilley explains that the book’s goal is to give “some sense of what it’s like to meet a drawing expert and to have a series of lessons at his or her side.” Readers will absolutely gain a better understanding of drawing techniques through this fun and engaging narrative, particularly if they complete each chapter’s “assignment.” I did question the wisdom of David’s striking up a friendship with a stranger in the park, but in the safe world of this graphic novel the only danger is that he might catch Becky in a grouchy mood. A sweet Epilogue ties everything together with an adult David offering a drawing lesson to a boy who admires his work.Drawing Lesson.jpgThe Drawing Lesson will be available soon in the Ridley High School Library’s graphic novel section. Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!