Austin Teen Book Festival September 28th, 2013

On Saturday, September 28th, the 5th annual Austin Teen Book Festival will take place at the Austin Convention Center (500 East Cesar Chavez).

The opening speaker for the conference is Maggie Stiefavater. The lunch speakers will be Sarah Dessen and Rob Thomas of the Veronica Mars television show, and the closing speaker will be Holly Black.

For more information about the Austin Teen Book Festival go to:

The newest titles in our collection by the key note speakers include:

RAVEN BOYS                                                           

STIEFVATER, MAGGIE, 1981-                         Original Date: 2012

Blue Sargent, the only non-clairvoyant in her family, is cursed with the knowledge that her kiss will cause her true love to die. But on Saint Mark’s Eve, Blue’s future becomes much more complicated. Some violence and some strong language. For senior high and older readers.                                                               

BR   19571        DB   75404                                            

MOON AND MORE                                                        

DESSEN, SARAH                                     Original Date: 2013

Emaline’s life in the beachside town of Colby changes during the summer before she goes to college. She thinks her boyfriend Luke is perfect, but when she meets Theo, a sophisticated out-of-towner, Emaline starts to question her future. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers.                                    

DB   76814         

DOLL BONES                                                            

BLACK, HOLLY                                      Original Date: 2013

Preteens Zach, Alice, and Poppy act out adventures with action figures and a china doll long after their classmates have stopped such play. But when Poppy is haunted by dreams about the eerie doll, the friends begin a real-life exploit. For grades 5-8 and older readers.    

DB   76559                                                              

The Talking Book Program has books by the following authors who will be at the Austin Teen Book Festival: Maggie Stiefavter, Lisa McMann, Melissa De La Cruz, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Holly Black, Robin Wasserman, Suzanne Young, Malinda Lo, Lauren Myracle, Sarah Dessen, Rob Thomas, Jenny Han, Sean Beaudoin, S.A. Bodeen, Marissa Meyer, Madeleine Roux, and Amy Tintera

Panels at the festival will cover:

Powers Strange and Perilous: 

Maggie Stiefvater, Robin LaFevers, Lisa McMann, Cinda Williams Chima, Melissa de la Cruz,  Michael Johnston, and Rosemary Clement-Moore (moderating)

Into Hearts of Darkness: 

Holly Black, Jon Skovron, Mari Mancusi, Robin Wasserman, April Genevieve Tulcholke, and Victoria Scott (moderating) 

Tales of Tomorrow: 

Brian Sanderson, Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young, Malinda Lo, P.J. Hoover, and Brian Yanksy (moderating) 

I Made You a Mixtape: 

Lauren Myracle, Sara Farizan, Sarah Dessen, Trish Doller, Leila Howland, and Julie Murphy (moderating) 

Truth and Consequences: 

Rob Thomas, Bill Konigsberg, Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian, Sean Beaudoin, Jo Knowles, and E. Kristin Anderson (moderating) 

Fierce Reads: 

Leila Sales, Alexandra Coutts, S.A. Bodeen, Marissa Meyer, and Librarian Stephanie Appell (moderating)

Dark Days: 

Madeleine Roux, Sherry Thomas, Mindy McGinnis, Michelle Gagnon, Rae Carson, and Amy Tintera (moderating)

Staff Pick — (and Shannon cooks) Recipes From My Home Kitchen by Christine Ha

Ingredients for Christine Ha’s “My Mama's Humble Tomato Soup -- Canh Ca Chua Cua Me”

Ingredients for Christine Ha’s “My Mama’s Humble Tomato Soup — Canh Ca Chua Cua Me”


HA, CHRISTINE, 1979-                             
Original Date: 2013

Winner of TV’s MasterChef reminisces about teaching herself to make treasured comfort foods as a teenager after her mother’s death, losing her vision to neuromyelitis optica at age twenty-five, and relearning to cook. Recipes range from appetizers to desserts, chicken pot pie to ginger-coconut tuiles. 2013.      

BR   20085      DB   76676     

Texas TBP is excited to see this book on BARD, because not only is Christine Ha the winner of MasterChef, she’s one of our patrons!                                  

The first line in Christine Ha’s cookbook is, “I did not grow up cooking by my mama’s side.” I didn’t, either, and I am still not the primary cook at my house. She describes her college cooking in much a way that I would describe my current cooking, “the food was average: edible but not particularly exciting”. She took that averageness and it sparked her to explore in the kitchen, learn more, and then go on to become the winner of MasterChef.

Throughout the course of the book, Christine lists what she would eat for her last meal if she could choose. She, of course, describes a seven course meal to include her love of sashimi, French fries, her mom’s egg rolls, fried chicken, pho, and finishes it off with Oreos, milk and Bluebell Vanilla Ice Cream. (Yes, Bluebell.. Can you tell she’s a Texan?) She also describes her relationship with each recipe. For example, with her caramelized chicken wing recipe she talks about how since she’s from the South and attended the University of Texas at Austin, naturally she’s a football fan and “wings are to watching football on TV as popcorn is to watching movies in the theater.”  

Last night for dinner I made a recipe from Christine’s cookbook. I made her “My Mama’s Humble Tomato Soup — Canh Ca Chua Cua Me”. Like I said, I am not the cook at my house, but I thought this was very do-able for me. I can totally handle boiling, chopping and simmering, although I think my tomato wedges should have been cut smaller and I could not find a bird’s eye chili at my grocery store and substituted with a Thai chili. I even took her advice and served it her favorite way: poured over jasmine rice; and it made a yummy and light soup that went great with a glass of red wine.

In the acknowledgements, Christine thanks “the staff at the Division of Blind Services, a part of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services of Texas”. Division for Blind Services offices are located throughout Texas. Call 800-628-5115 to be connected to the office closest to where you live or email for more information about support services provided by Division of Blind Services.

Coming soon to the TBP Blog, we will be posting an interview podcast between Christine Ha and Ruth, TBP’s Public Awareness Coordinator .

bowl of Christine Ha’s “My Mama's Humble Tomato Soup -- Canh Ca Chua Cua Me”
bowl of Christine Ha’s “My Mama’s Humble Tomato Soup — Canh Ca Chua Cua Me”


Top picture of ingredients for Christine Ha’s “My Mama’s Humble Tomato Soup — Canh Ca Chua Cua Me” Back row left to right – chicken broth, olive oil, fish sauce, salt, pepper. Front row – tomatoes, Thai chili (balanced on top of tomato), garlic.

Bottom picture of bowl of Christine Ha’s “My Mama’s Humble Tomato Soup — Canh Ca Chua Cua Me” served over jasmine rice.

TBP Book Club 9/17/13 : The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

We wanted to let you know about an upcoming book club event. On Tuesday, September  17th at 7 pm (Central Time), we will be discussing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  

Our book club meetings are hosted via toll free conference call, so all you need is a telephone to participate.

To RSVP for this book club event, please respond to this email or call the Talking Book Program at 1 800 252 9605 (RSVP preferred by August 30th).  

The title is available by mail in large print, and cartridge format or for download on BARD.  

Title: IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS                                    

Author: SKLOOT, REBECCA, 1972-                            Original Date: 2010

Science journalist chronicles the life of African American Henrietta Lacks, who in 1951 had cervical tissue removed and grown in culture–without her permission–producing the first continuously replicating human-cell samples for research. Discusses subsequent medical breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine and AIDS treatment. Explores bioethical concerns involving tissue ownership. Bestseller.    

DB   70661        LB   06814

Art and Writing Workshop for Caregivers and Care-Recipients

We’re happy to share information about an art and writing workshop for caregivers and care-recipients in the Austin area.

“Offered by Badgerdog and MobileArt and funded by St. David’s Foundation’s Health’s Angels, this art and writing workshop brings caregivers and care-recipients together for six weeks beginning August 11. Caregivers, with the help of Badgerdog teaching artists, explore family memories and the experience of caregiving through a variety of writing styles. At the same time, care-recipients create visual artwork—including sculpture, painting, and drawing—with assistance from MobileArt program volunteers. The work created during the workshops, both written and visual, will be published and displayed at a celebratory event on November 19. This workshop is free and meets Sundays from 1:00-2:30 at the AGE of Central Texas (3710 Cedar Street in Hyde Park). Workshop dates are: August 11, 18, 25 & September 8, 15, 22. To register, email Cecily Sailer at or call 512.542.0076. “

For more information go to:


The Night Circus — Book Club, July 16th, 2013 at 7 p.m.

We wanted to let you know about an upcoming book club event. On Tuesday, July 16th at 7 pm (Central Time), we will be discussing The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Our book club meetings are hosted via toll free conference call, so all you need is a telephone to participate.

To RSVP for this book club event, please email the Talking Book Program at or call the Talking Book Program at:  1 800 252 9605 (RSVP preferred by July 2nd).

The Night Circus is available by mail in cartridge format or for download on BARD.

Title: NIGHT CIRCUS                                                         

Author: MORGENSTERN, ERIN                                 Original Date: 2011

At the Circus of Dreams magicians Celia and Marco are pitted against each other in an epic magical battle. Their mentors plan for it to have only one survivor, not foreseeing that Celia and Marco will fall in love. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 

DB   73783

Email with the author — Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition

I picked up Karen Blumenthal’s book Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition DB 74427 for several reasons. 1) Why would you write a YA non-fiction about alcohol? 2) I grew up in St. Louis, MO, home to the Anheuser Busch brewery and knew that during Prohibition they made a drink called Bevo at the brewery and that the Clydesdales delivered beer to the White House when Prohibition was repealed. 3) I wrote my senior thesis in college on the women’s suffrage movement and I knew that the two movements (Women’s Suffrage and Prohibition) were allies in winning women the right to vote. 4) I like wine, and most of what I knew about Prohibition centered on beer and liquor. (This is still true, even after reading this book, although there is a recipe for making a home wine of questionable quality.)

Ms. Blumenthal is a Spirit of Texas Reading Program – Middle School winner for this year. She lives in Dallas, TX.  The Spirit of Texas program “hopes to encourage a greater understanding of what it means to be a Texan and an appreciation for the literary works of and about Texas and Texans”. One of the leading legislators involved in introducing the amendment to Congress for the first time was Morris Sheppard who grew up in various towns in East Texas. I dropped Ms. Blumenthal an email asking her some questions about her book (AND SHE REPLIED!!). I asked her why she decided to write a YA book about alcohol. She answered, “I had been interested in Red Ribbon Week, which is the drug and alcohol education week in Texas, and I knew teens start dealing with issues involving drinking as early as junior high school, so I felt like this was an important topic for young people. In addition, I had written about the 1920s before, and it was such an interesting time of social change. One big part of that was prohibition, and I was taken with the way young people rebelled against the law. Of course, I also knew about Al Capone and other gangsters. And I was intrigued that an amendment to the Constitution had been repealed. Guns, gangsters, booze, politics, young people—how could that not be a fascinating story?”

Prohibition lasted from 1920 – 1933 — thirteen years, ten months, nineteen days to be exact.  I was interested in the women’s groups that were involved in agitation and demonstrating to pass the 18th amendment, especially since this agitation happened before women had the right to vote. One leading rallier, Carrie Nation, went to a saloon and smashed the bar with a hatchet! Despite their open protests at saloons and rallies they seemed to be able to sneak up on people who did not support Prohibition to get it enacted. The propaganda leading up to Prohibition really played on the differences in people in the country: class differences, racial differences (white people in the South did not want black people to have access to alcohol), native born Americans and immigrants, and religious differences (Protestants challenging wine being used for religious purposes in Catholic and Jewish services.) Another big help in passing Prohibition was the start of World War One. Beer was seen as too German and therefore unpatriotic. There were food shortages on the battlefront. Grain was better used in food than in alcohol. Trains were better used to transport things needed for the war than for transport of drink.

The reality of Prohibition ended up being different than what was originally thought. It was stricter than many imagined when it was passed. It was not uniformly enforced. Blumenthal writes, “Capone and his men spent perhaps $15 million a year to line the pockets of and win favors from the police, prohibition agents and politicians who were supposed to shut him down.” (102) To enact the repeal of Prohibition some of the same tactics as Women’s Christian Temperance Union used to get law passed were used. They cited the effects on children. Children were learning a lack of respect for the Constitution and the law–even the president of the United States had parties where whiskey was served. The cost of taxpayer money and lives lost trying to enforce the law (and the cost of lives lost to crime caused by bootlegging) was much higher than originally reported. In 1929 there was a change in the law to make it even stricter, which required more enforcement and more jail overcrowding. With the start of the Great Depression there was a call for taxes on alcohol, and the creation of new jobs in brewing, bottling and sales of alcohol. Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran on a platform of repeal and signed that repeal only three days after his inauguration. Something I noticed as I was reading the book was that there seemed to be parallels between some laws of today and Prohibition, especially when it comes to having a statewide policy versus a national policy. I asked the author what she thought about those parallels. She replied, “Oh yes, I see lots of parallels with divisive social issues today. I think you can see parallels in debates over abortion, gun control, school prayer, school textbooks and drug laws (especially in regards to marijuana), just to name a few.”

Blumenthal concludes by telling the reader about the social ills of drinking that are still with us or made worse by drinking. She talks about M.A.D.D (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and Red Ribbon Week in schools and our communities that started in the 1980s . I asked the author what was the most interesting factoid that she found that she had to leave out. Her answer was, “Well, I mentioned that Al Capone was in the gambling and liquor businesses, but didn’t mention his chain of brothels. I also couldn’t find a good place to tell the story of Mabel Walker Willebrandt, assistant U.S. Attorney General during prohibition and the highest-ranking woman in federal government at the time. She oversaw the Prohibition Bureau and worked hard to enforce the law. She took a lot of grief for that, but she was highly regarded and reasonably effective, given the circumstances. I built a big file on her and found her fascinating, but I just couldn’t find the right place for her in the book’s narrative.”

 I also asked Ms. Blumenthal about her upcoming projects. She had a book recently come out about Steve Jobs titled, Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Differently (it’s a little too new to be in the NLS collection just yet) and she’s been doing some research on Bonnie and Clyde. In my opinion, Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition focused on times early in the Prohibition movement and the later repeal, but lacked detail about the middle years, with the exception of Al Capone. It was a quick, interesting, informative read and it was a pleasure to receive an email from Ms. Blumenthal about her work.

 From the NLS annotation:

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine and the Lawless Years of Prohibition

Blumenthal, Karen. Reading time: 4 hours, 10 minutes.
Read by Bill Delaney.

True Crime, Young Adult, U.S. History

The history and legacy of Prohibition, which began with passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920 and ended in 1933. Profiles Carrie Nation, the temperance movement’s first celebrity, and discusses the rise of bootleggers and gangsters such as Al Capone. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2011.

BARD Training for WindowEyes Users

GW Micro, the company behind the product WindowEyes, is hosting a free webinar on using WindowEyes with BARD. BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) is the downloadable book service of the National Library Service. The free webinar is at 1 p.m. central time on May 15th.

For more information about this webinar, and other archived webinar trainings for WindowEyes go to:


Pulitzer Prize Award Announcement 2013

After last year’s surprise announcement of no winner for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, this year’s winner is:

ORPHAN MASTER’S SON                                                 

JOHNSON, ADAM, 1967-                              Original Date: 2012

North Korea. Pak Jun Do spends his childhood on an orphan slave-labor crew–even though his father runs the orphanage. Later he is placed on kidnap duty, snatching Japanese citizens whose skills are needed. Over time, his assignments grow increasingly dangerous. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 

DB   74282   

There are two more winners of the Pulitzer this year that are in processing at NLS                               

For Poetry:

STAG’S LEAP                                                         

OLDS, SHARON                                      Original Date: 2012

Collection of poems exploring the effects of life’s changes. In the title piece the author ruminates on the feelings experienced while watching a soon-to-be ex-husband emotionally free himself. “Sea-Level Elegy” celebrates the restorative power of a retreat. Some descriptions of sex. 2012.                                               

DB   76141  IPN                  

For Biography:


REISS, TOM                                        Original Date: 2012

Author of The Orientalist (DB 60073) pens a biography of General Alex Dumas (1762-1806), mixed-race father of French novelist Alexandre Dumas. Traces the general’s roots in Saint-Domingue, his military career during the French Revolution and under Napoleon, and the rivalry that led to his fall.           

DB   75664  IPN

Staff Pick — Shannon: Origin Story series, DB 74943

I was doing some searches for a patron trying to find origin stories of superheroes and found this newish book that covers the starts for Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, Thor and X-Men. This reads more like short snippets of info about each of the superheroes — just mentioning how they got their powers, and sometimes mentioning the villains they battle (and sometimes not). I would have liked more of the villain backstory and felt that the stories should have been a little longer to include some of that.  

I’ve watched the movies featuring all of these characters, but find that before I go to the movie featuring these characters I want to know the backstory that I don’t know because I didn’t read their comic books when I was a kid. (Typically I find this info on Wikipedia.) I’m looking forward to seeing Iron Man 3 next month.  

Each section of this book read like a short chapter. I enjoyed Erik Sandvold as a narrator and I liked that he described the action on some of the picture pages.

Every time a new superhero movie comes to the theatres we get asked about books like this, so I’m glad to see that NLS made a recording of this book. It was a pleasant book to spend an hour with. Happy reading!!

The Origin story series: The amazing Spider-Man ; The courageous Captain America ; The incredible Hulk ; The invincible Iron Man ; The mighty Avengers ; The mighty Thor ; The uncanny X-Men

DB 74943

Thomas, Rich. Reading time: 1 hour, 3 minutes.
Read by Erik Sandvold.


Series of seven books explains how Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk became legendary superheroes. In The Uncanny X-Men Professor Xavier assembles a team of mutants called the X-Men to protect mankind from evil–even though humans are afraid of them. For grades K-3 and older readers. 2011.

Staff Pick — Shannon: The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw

Hubby and I are starting to daydream about our next vacation. While looking over travel books, and talking to friends about their recent travels, a friend gushed about his recent trip to Belize. I’m not sure if timing, a toddler or finances will allow it, but I picked up the book The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird anyway.

The woman in question fighting to save the scarlet macaws is Sharon Matola, owner and director of the Belize Zoo. “The zoo exhibits 125 individual animals and hosts more than seventy thousand visitors every year – more than one-quarter of Belize’s entire population.” In the book, there is an ongoing fight between Sharon and owners of an electric company and some government officials regarding the building of a dam in an area known to be populated by species of animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, notably the scarlet macaws.  ‘To Sharon, the question of the macaw’s survival was a no brainer. “If we keep destroying habitat like this, that bird is a goner,” she told me one of the first times we met. “it’s not that tough to understand. Once it’s got no place to eat and no place to breed, it will go extinct.”’

Sharon received threats while opposing the dam –threats to her safety and to her business. The government sent notice to Sharon that they were going to build a landfill one mile away from the zoo. By showing the amount of flooding at the proposed dump site during hurricane season, the amount of drainage from the flooding into a local water source, and gaining support from Princess Anne of England during her visit to the former colony, Sharon was able to defeat the government’s plan.

There were some definite examples of hidden reports from the company building the dam,  including the report that showed how much electricity would be produced. The company claimed that some of the reports about the project contained proprietary information.  There were also some serious questions about whether the cost of the dam would be passed on to the electricity buyers and if it would really mean lower electricity rates for Belizeans. When reports by the scientists hired by the owners of the electric company agreed with the dam protesters (and said much worse than what the dam protesters feared), their reports were re-worded and released to the public in such a way as to make it sound like minimal impact.

I found the combination of the balance between politics and the environment interesting. The Canadian company building the dam and officials in the government were painting Sharon as an outsider, white person telling Belize what to do rather than acknowledging that she’s lived in Belize for 20 + years and loves the country.

The building of the dam passed with a vote of 11- 1. Then came multiple appeals and court battles still fighting the building of the dam. The dam was a go-ahead in the appeals court. The Chalillo Dam opened in November of 2005. The cost of power for the people of Belize went up in costs after the building of the dam. Sharon went on to continue her work with the zoo and take on projects such as building an art gallery in the zoo and working with the Peregrine Fund to rehabilitate harpy eagles in the region.

 If you ask Sharon why she thinks people are fascinated with birds, she answers, “They fly. We don’t. We’re jealous… They’re up there in the air, where we can’t go. They’re like sea creatures that way. We can’t see most sea creatures, though. We can look up and see birds in the sky. They go into a world we can see and yet can’t access. They go through that glass window keeping us out. They’re so fragile, yet we can’t grasp the. All those things.”

For more information about the current state of the macaws in Belize, here is the director’s message on the Belize Zoo’s website:

The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird

DB 67335

Barcott, Bruce. Reading time: 11 hours, 20 minutes.
Read by Jack Fox.

Chronicles the crusade of Sharon Matola, an expatriate American who directs the Belize Zoo, to stop construction of a dam that would flood the nesting grounds of the country’s last scarlet macaws. Illuminates the economic struggles of developing nations and the conflict between environmental conservation and industrial development. 2008.