Feed Your Brain Mid-Summer Check-Up

It’s time for a mid-summer Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program check-up, kids! What have you been doing all summer? Because our Half Price Books kids and teens have been reading.

How much, you ask?

As of last the end of June, we’ve had 4,596 Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs turned in across our stores. Now, the way we figure it, if each kid reads a minimum of 15 minutes per day, that’s  1,378,800 minutes of reading.

feed your brain reading logs

So kids, how does it feel to have read 22,980 hours with other Bookworms so far this summer? Continue reading

Let’s Get Binge Reading!: #SummerBookBinge

At Half Price Books, true booklovers never take a break, even in the summer. While all the kids are feeding their brains, we’re sending teens on a  #SUMMERBOOKBINGE!

“What’s a book binge,” you ask?!

It’s only the most exciting summer teen reading program around!  Join HPB and our friends at Penguin Teen on our Feed Your Brain Summer #SUMMERBOOKBINGE. Read a favorite! Start a series! Write a review! Let’s make binge-reading a THING! One book is a success, but read two and we are officially making you part of this summer’s #SUMMERBOOKBINGE.

The Penguin Teen selections for the summer reading #SUMMERBOOKBINGE this year are from some of our favorite authors. So will you read just two? Or are you going to binge-read like the rest of us?

THE SELECTIONS

JOHN GREEN
Srsly, everything he writes is pure gold, am I right? He rips into our hearts and has us feeling REAL feels. Have you read them all? Grab your sunshades, your beach towel and a tissue or two and read them again!

 

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A Grown-up Who Grew Up With Harry Potter

I was a junior in college when the first Harry Potter book was released. Needless to say, the series was not on my radar then, and it remained stealthily outside those bounds until I began substitute teaching after college. That’s when I first saw 12 and 13-year old children toting around the same book.

I finally asked, “What are you all reading?”

I got the definitive answer, “Oh! YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THESE BOOKS!”

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Feed Your Brain: High Schoolers get in on the Summer Reading fun, too!

The bell just rang to dismiss your final class for the year and you’re ALREADY looking for something to do? The Feed Your Brain HIGH SCHOOL Summer Reading Program is for you!

Why?… Because reading CAN ACTUALLY BE FUN! I bet most of you know this already, though, right?

Celebrate-your-victories

All you have to do to get some Bookworm Bucks (a $5 coupon) is read a couple of titles just for fun, let us know about them and use your reading rewards at any Half Price Books location before the end of the summer.

Click here for details about the Feed Your Brain HS Summer Reading Program

We have a great list of recommendations, both new and classics for you this year. Pick one up at your favorite Half Price Books local store and GET READING now!

 

*NEW* MIDDLE-GRADE and TEEN FICTIONCapture

Doodle Adventures: The Search For The Slimy Space Slugs!
Author: Mike Lowery
Recommended for readers: 8-12 years
Published by Workman Publishing

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses sequel)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Recommended for readers: 14 years and up
Published by Bloomsbury USA

Queen of Hearts
Author: Colleen Oakes
Recommended for readers: 14 years and up
Published by HarperTeen

Theodore Boone: The Scandal
Author: John Grisham
Recommended for readers: 8-12 years
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers

*CLASSIC* TEEN READING:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank

The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho

 

 

 

 

April 11 is National Eight-Track Tape Day

Where are they now? This is what remains. Where the rest of our collection went, we don’t know, but my family’s eight-track stereo and a few choice tapes still reside in my childhood home.  Everything is all intact and functioning. Pop a tape in the stereo and the sound warbles and flutters. If you know the faults of eight-tracks, you remember older, worn tapes playing faint, or not so faint, harmonies of another song in the background because the tape inside the cartridge managed to get slightly off track. The clicking in the middle of the song when the tape switches from track to track? All annoyances we didn’t even know were annoying at the time.

eighttrackstereo

I was born in the mid-seventies to hip parents who tried their best to keep up with the fads of the day. Through the mid-eighties, this translated into our entertainment feature piece, this Panasonic eight-track AM/FM stereo system and our family’s red Buick Station wagon that sported the hi-tech eight-track tape deck. Continue reading

Embrace Your Geekness: HPB Reviews Armada by Ernest Cline

Personal disclaimer: I was an elementary and middle school aged kid during that golden decade we call the ’80s. This was a time when girls and boys played arcade games, watched a lot of cartoons and played with the same toys. We ate sugary cereal, wore Mork from Ork suspenders, feathered our hair and (seriously) were all considered really cool.

Which brings me to Ernest Cline.

I read his first bestseller, Ready Player One, earlier this spring when I heard all the buzz about the upcoming release, Armada. It was everything I loved about mid-’80s cinema, games, music and culture, and I decided that if Ernie Cline is writing it, I am on board.

Cline’s second novel, Armada, comes out tomorrow, and it hopes to answer the age-old question, what if your video game obsession is training you to LITERALLY save the world? In the near-future, teenager Zack Lightman, a gaming aficionado who just wants to graduate high school, soon realizes that he and other elite gamers might hold the keys to saving the planet against alien forces.

Armada reads like every ’80s video game geek adventure movie, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. It lacks a bit of the “wow” factor after the ingenious. Ready Player One, but it is no less adventuresome. Cline truly is an encyclopedia of video-gaming culture, not to mention his reaches into the depths of ’80s kid’s cinema. Just like with RPO, you can practically see the movie playing while you read. He also strategically places a complete ready-for-mixtape playlist headlined by Queen’s “One Vision”. BTW, Warner Bros. purchased the rights to Ready Player One and some unknown named Steven Spielberg, will direct. Universal Pictures grabbed the rights to Armada all the way back in December.

The thirty and forty-year old set who hung out at arcades and rushed to theaters to watch any movie with “Star”, “War”,“Games” or “Fighter” in the title will feel whisked back into their local mall movie theater at the over-the-top action, righteous references to all-things-’80s once in again in Cline’s newest book. It’s a great read for teens (with some language warnings) who are really into gaming and retro-culture and they will be screaming for the movie releases in the next couple of years. Expect a lot of fan art and fan fiction to evolve, because that’s what the kids do these days, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some video game spin-offs as well. We’ll be hearing a lot more from Ernie Cline in the future, and if you are lucky enough to be in the area, you can catch him in Richardson, Texas as Half Price Books and Alamo Drafthouse partner to present An Evening with Ernie Cline Monday, July 27, at 7 p.m.

Look for copies of Armada iat your favorite Half Price Books with our specially-priced brand new releases and hot bestsellers!

Teacher Appreciation Week: Celebrating Educators and Half Pint Library

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and we have some teachers to thank!

As we bid farewell once again to the biggest book drive and book giveaway of the year, the Half Price Books Half Pint Library program, we say a special thanks to the educators and game-changers who came out during April and picked up box after box of children’s books to deliver to their own classrooms and libraries. Selfless acts of literary kindness are just one of the things that make teachers great.

At Half Price Books, we know that educators spend lots of their own money each year to furnish their own classroom supplies. That’s why we created the Half Pint Library Program to help defer some of that cost by providing books for kids in need.

So, teachers, THANK YOU! The 17th Annual Half Price Books Half Pint Library giveaway events ended last week and our math lesson for the day follows. Here is HPL by-the-numbers:

1 month

34 Half Pint Library Book Giveaway events

16 states across the USA

487 schools and non-profits

11 Half Price Books trucks FULL of kids books

53,021 books donated by customers

170,256 books matched by Half Price Books

223,277 total books given away!

Thank you to our customers who donated books in March! Half Price Books was able to match these donations (and then some) with excess kids’ books from our stores. We provided every teacher or non-profit that attended a giveaway at least two boxes of books to support their libraries and programs in local communities across the nation!

The Half Pint Library program (HPL) is part of the year-round Million Book Donation Project. This annual children’s book drive is hosted each spring by Half Price Books to collect and distribute books to those in need. Books donated through the Half Pint Library program provide an escape from the challenges faced by children while helping to boost literacy skills outside of school. In many cases, children receive their first book through the Half Pint Library program. The drive accepts any type of children’s book, including Spanish language books, as long as they are in good condition. The program has collected more than 2 million books for pediatric patients, community centers, schools and other children in need.

 

And don’t forget! You can save 10% off your purchases from Half Price Books year-round with our Educator Discount Card.

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

Booksgiving Day: Giving the Gift of Reading with FREE Children’s Book and Storytime!

Kids, it’s time to gather ‘round for your favorite Half Price Books holiday. It’s our second annual celebration of BOOKSGIVING DAY!

Supporting literacy and providing books to families is key to our Half Price Books mission! Join us at your neighborhood Half Price Books location on Booksgiving Day, Saturday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. Every child who attends will receive a free book to take home and add to their library, or start a new one! *Limit one preselected book per child while supplies last.

If you aren’t a kid but want to participate, how about picking up a copy of your favorite kid’s book and sharing it with a special child in your life?

Let’s get a book to every child, in every home! BW, the Half Price Books Bookworm, and I will see you there!

The books donated on Booksgiving Day are part of Half Price Books Million Book Donation Project, which has donated more than 1.3 million books to non-profit organizations and schools in 2014.

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

#HPBteensREAD: The Best Teen Reads This Summer

Hey TEENS! These final days of summer mean one of two things: either you are soaking up the sun and enjoying those last moments of being carefree, or you’ve procrastinated and are now furiously cramming your summer reading and projects into the wee hours before you have to head back to____… I promise not to say the “s” word! Whether you’re reading for enjoyment or obligation, we’d love to hear from you! Check out #HPBteensREAD and tweet us your review. (Plus, learn about how you can win a Teen Reading Prize Pack.) Also, follow the #HPBteensREAD hashtag to get some great recommendations!

Our good friend and librarian Kristen at the Irving Public Library, (organizers of the first-ever North Texas Teen Book Festival, coming in March 2015), gave us a quick list of the best teen reads this summer. Have you had the chance to pick these up? –Becky

Hey HPB Booklovers!

Here’s a list of authors and books we can’t keep on the shelves!

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  2. The Living by Matt de la Peña
  3. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
  4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (movie coming out September 19!)
  5. Unwind series by Neal Shusterman
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  8. Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (this title has been super hot, especially with the movie coming out on August 22!)
  11. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer
  12. The Selection series by Kiera Cass
  13. The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han – perpetual teen summer reading fave!
  14. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- another teen summer reading fave!
  15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (the final installment comes out in November and interest for this series has seriously rekindled lately)

I could go on and on with teen books, but I should probably keep the list short and sweet. 😉 Take care and happy reading! 

–Kristen, Teen Services, Irving Public Library-Central Library

21 Comic Book Challenges You Won’t Believe!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Half Price Books is committed to buying and selling anything printed or recorded, except yesterday’s newspaper! Did you know that HPB carries a great selection of comics, graphic novels and comic-related merchandise?

 

This year, we’ve teamed up with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, our super heroes at protecting our right to read comics! Enjoy this post from our friend, Charles Brownstein, Executive Director at the CBLDF and we’ll see you this weekend! — Becky

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization that protects the freedom to read comics, and we’re proud to welcome Half Price Books to our roster of Corporate Members.  Many people ask whether censorship is still a problem facing comics, and the answer is a shocking yes.  In 2013 the year’s tenth most challenged book was Bone by Jeff Smith.  Last year also saw the Chicago Public Schools attempt to ban Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.  The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fights these challenges when they happen, getting involved at the first sign of trouble and assisting communities to help keep comics on the shelf.  We also create proactive resources to help increase understanding of comics before challenges occur.

Today we take a look at 21 surprising comics challenges, providing the title, where the challenge occurred, and the allegations brought against the book.  To read the full story of these challenges, or to learn more about the CBLDF’s important work, come on over to our website.

 1. Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita, Jr., and Scott Hanna

• Location of key challenge: A middle-school library in Millard, Nebraska

• Reason challenged: Sexual overtones

The parent of a 6-year-old who checked out the book filed a complaint and took the story to the media; the parent also withheld the book for the duration of the review process rather than returning it per library policy. Read more here.

2. Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

• Location of key challenge: Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio

• Reason challenged: Sexism, offensive language, and unsuited to age group

Despite the challenge, the library retained the book and now holds two copies, which are shelved in the Teen section. Read more here.

3. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Boland

• Location of key challenge: Columbus, Nebraska, Public Library

• Reason challenged: Advocates rape and violence

The library review board members present voted unanimously to retain the book when it was challenged by a single patron.  Read more here.

4. Blankets by Craig Thompson

• Location of key challenge: The public library in Marshall, Missouri

• Reason challenged: Obscene images

CBLDF wrote a letter to the Marshall library on behalf of Blankets and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, playing a key role in keeping both books on shelves. Read more here.

5. Bone by Jeff Smith

• Location of key challenge: Independent School District 196 in Rosemount, Minnesota

• Reason challenged: Promotion of smoking and drinking

A letter from Jeff Smith decrying the attempted ban of his book was read aloud at the library review committee’s hearing, and the challenge was ultimately rejected by a 10-1 vote, to the praise of Smith and the CBLDF. Read more here.

6. Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

• Location of key challenge: All public school libraries in Wicomico County, Maryland

• Reason challenged: Violence and nudity

The library review committee recommended that the books in the Dragon Ball series, which were recommended by the publisher for ages 13+, be removed from the entire public school library system, including at the high school level. Read more here.

7. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

• Location of key challenge: The public library in Marshall, Missouri

• Reason challenged: Obscene images

CBLDF wrote a letter to the Marshall library on behalf of Fun Home and Craig Thompson’s Blankets, playing a key role in keeping both books on shelves. Read more here.

8. Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes

• Location of key challenge: A high school in Guilford, Connecticut

• Reason challenged: Profanity, coarse language, and brief non-sexual nudity

A high school teacher was forced to resign from his job after a parent filed both a complaint with the school and a police complaint against the teacher for lending a high school freshman a copy of Eightball #22, which was later published as the graphic novel Ice Haven. Read more here.

9. In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

• Location of key challenge: Multiple locations

• Reason challenged: Nudity

In the Night Kitchen was not often removed from shelves; instead, librarians censored it by painting underwear or diapers over the genitals of the main character, a precocious child named Mickey. Read more here.

10. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

• Location of key challenge: Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky

• Reason challenged: Sex scenes

Two employees of the Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky were fired after they took it upon themselves to withhold the library’s copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier from circulation because they felt it was pornographic. Read more here.

11. Maus by Art Spiegelman

• Location of key challenge: Pasadena Public Library in Pasadena, California

• Reason challenged: Anti-ethnic and unsuited for age group

Nick Smith of the Pasadena Public Library describes the challenge as being “made by a Polish-American who is very proud of his heritage, and who had made other suggestions about adding books on Polish history… The thing is, Maus made him uncomfortable, so he didn’t want other people to read it. That is censorship, as opposed to parental guidance.” Read more here.

12. Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

• Location of key challenge: The public library in Greenville, South Carolina

• Reason challenged: Sexual content

Despite giving her 14-year-old daughter permission to check out the book, which was appropriately shelved in the adult section of the library, a mother filed a complaint, claiming the book was “pornographic.” CBLDF wrote a letter in support of the book, but it remains out of circulation pending review. Read more here.

13. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

• Location of key challenge: The public school system in Chicago, Illinois

• Reason challenged: Profanity, violent content

Furor erupted when Chicago Public Schools sent an email to local principals, directing them to remove all copies of Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning graphic novel Persepolis. CPS backpedalled on the initial email, sending a second email clarifying that the book was to be retained in libraries. It was removed from Grade 7 classrooms and remains under review for use in Grade 8 -10 classrooms. Read more here.

14. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn and Niko Henricho

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Sexual content

Despite receiving high praise from the ALA and Booklist and featuring a cast consisting of animals, the book has been challenged at libraries for sexual content. Read more here.

15. Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Anti-family themes, offensive language, and unsuited for age group

When asked about how he felt when Sandman was labelled unsuitable for teens, Gaiman responded, “I suspect that having a reputation as adult material that’s unsuitable for teens will probably do more to get teens to read Sandman than having the books ready and waiting on the YA shelves would ever do.” Read more here.

16. Side Scrollers by Matthew Loux

• Location of key challenge: The public school district in Enfield, Connecticut

• Reason challenged: Profanity and sexual references

The school district removed the book from non-compulsory summer reading lists, possibly violating its own review policy, which states in part that “no parent nor group of parents has the right to negate the use of educational resources for students other than his/her own child.” CBLDF wrote a letter in support of the book and is still awaiting a response from the school board. Read more here.

17. Stuck in the Middle, edited by Ariel Schrag

• Location of key challenge: The public school system in Dixfield, Maine

• Reason challenged: Language, sexual content, and drug references

CBLDF wrote a letter in support of the book, and the school board voted to leave the book on library shelves with the caveat the students must have parental permission to check out the book. “While we’re pleased to see the book retained in the library’s collection, we’re very disappointed that it is retained with restrictions,” said Executive Director Charles Brownstein. Read more here.

18. Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse

• Location of key challenge: Montgomery County Memorial Library System, Texas

• Reason challenged: Depiction of homosexuality

The book was challenged alongside 15 other young adult books with gay positive themes. The book was ultimately retained in the Montgomery County system, but was reclassified from Young Adult to Adult. Read more here.

19. Tank Girl by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett

• Location of key challenge: Hammond Public Library in Hammond, Indiana

• Reason challenged: Nudity and violence

The Tank Girl books are meant to entertain an adult audience, frequently depicting violence, flatulence, vomiting, sex, and drug use. After the 2009 challenge, the Hammond Public Library chose to retain the book, and it remains on shelves today. Read more here.

20. The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Nudity, sexual content, and unsuited to age group

When the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011, the second-most challenged book on that list was The Color of Earth, the first book of a critically-acclaimed Korean manwha, or comic book, series. Read more here.

21. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

• Location of key challenge: Various

• Reason challenged: Unsuited to age group

Watchmen received a Hugo Award in 1988 and was instrumental in garnering more respect and shelf space for comics and graphic novels in libraries and mainstream bookstores. The inclusion of Watchmen in school library collections has been challenged by parents at least twice, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Read more here.

Charles Brownstein is the Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.