Around the time Pokemon Go was released, we realized our traffic had increased. Soon after I began playing, I realized it was because our branch was a Pokestop. I began brainstorming how to tie this into a program of some sort, but I started with a book display. In addition to what is shown in the pictures, I added a passive program in the form of a foam board attached to the easel display where patrons could write which Pokemon they caught at the library.

One of my most popular book displays was my first display with 3D elements that looked good enough to eat! I chose to highlight books being made into movies in the coming year or being released on DVD soon. I added 3D popcorn and a few other fun elements to liven it up.

The first display I did at my new branch was quite some time ago. After a bit of a delay, I’m finally showing off my handiwork. I was asked to make a YA mystery display.

With the approach of the DVD release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, I wanted to do a fantasy display with a catchy phrase, so I chose to tie it all together. Once again, I had to add a few 3D elements with the fire, dragon, and sword in the stone to my display to make it jump off the page.

Before we reopened my branch after renovation and inventory, I decided to change out the YA displays that had been up for a while. I decided with spring upon us, summer romance was on everyone’s mind.

I recently (2/17) made a new nonfiction display for the children’s area. I love adding 3D elements to my displays to make them more visually engaging, so I chose to do a colorful and literary owl with some books that jump off the display.

Between Shades of Gray

between shades of gray

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Sepetys, R. (2011). Between shades of gray. New York: Philomel Books.

PLOT SUMMARY

Lina, her mother, and brother are removed from their home by the Soviet military in 1941 Lithuania. They are put in cattle cars and moved to an unknown destination. In the face of sickness, starvation, and death, Lina worries about what will become of her father whose fate is unknown. Their lives change even more when they reach their destination—a labor camp.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

This novel is a beautiful and haunting representation of a time so often overlooked in history. Books about this time period typically focus on Germany or the Allied countries. This is often not discussed in history classes or historical fiction. This provides a unique perspective for a novel, given its relative obscurity to the average reader. Sepetys provides rich characters to tell the story and provide unique and rich insight into history.

In Between Shades of Gray, we also see an escape in the form of artistic expression. Lina, a budding artist, uses her drawings to escape from the harsh reality that has become her life, to make a statement about what she observes, to earn food and additional comfort for her family, and to let out dangerous feelings about her experiences. The drawings and the book she gets from Andrius are the only methods of escape for her, and they both become vital to the plot.

REVIEW EXCERPTS

From The Washington Post: “Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both”

From Family Circle: “Beautifully written and researched, it captures the devastation of war while celebrating the will to survive.”

From The Los Angeles Times: “An eye-opening reimagination of a very real tragedy written with grace and heart.”

CONNECTIONS

-Pair with other books by Sepetys:
Salt to the Sea
Out of Easy

-Pair with other books about concentration camps and WWII:
The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson
Four Perfect Pebbles by Lila Perl
We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman
Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren
Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin
My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve

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