Big Blue Marble Bookstore Young Adult Newsletter July 17, 2016
   December front window
I chose this theme in early June, before the Brexit/Bremain* vote, before the death of Elie Wiesel, before the presumptive Republican nominee for President began running ads first posted by neo-Nazis, and before he chose his running mate ... because I have been watching his rhetoric, and the way his followers have reacted, along with similar trends elsewhere in the world, and I don't like the way this is going.

*(Anyone else think the vote might have gone differently with a different name? Hat tip to Kit Grindstaff for that point.)

Those who say that this nominee shouldn't be compared to Adolf Hitler because this is nothing like World War II may be looking at the wrong parts of history. He isn't behaving like Hitler in the '40s; this is more like the early rumblings of change in 1932.  He is raising and encouraging angry followers who will think of others -- Muslims, immigrants, people of color, pacifists, and so on -- as less important, less than human, and who will do violence to them if he suggests it.  This is what we need to counter, to make sure this particular history does not repeat itself.

Therefore I have three recommendations this time: One brand new hardcover, set in 1945, one pair of recent paperbacks set during the war, and one book that's out of print, set in 1931-1932.  Please try to get your hands on it if you can!

See below for upcoming Harry Potter events and other store news, including Dungeons & Dragons and Pokémon GO!
See you soon, 
Store News!

dice 1) Playing Pokémon GO? Come battle for control of the Big Blue Marble Gym! Stop in on weekdays, tell us you're playing, and pick up a free soda!
2) Do you play D&D? On Thursdays at 5, we're hosting a weekly Dungeons & Dragons group meeting at the store. Come check it out!  (Dice and books available.)
3) While the Walnut Lane Bridge is closed this summer, balance the traffic, the stress, & the mess with our new  Big Blue Marble Happy Hours
- Every Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 on: Cookies and Milk Happy Hours, featuring Sheila's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Every Thursday from 4:30 on: Thirsty Thursdays - Join us, and all of Mt. Airy Village, for free San Pelligrino sodas and soft pretzels in front of the store while the food trucks are on the block and the neighborhood is a-hopping!
4) If you live in zip codes 19127 or 19128 (that is, Across the Bridge), we are offering free home delivery!
Order by phone (215.844.1870) or by email (, tell us you're in the Free Delivery Zone, give your address, and poof your books will arrive.  (small print - we'll do one delivery run a week, on Thursday or Friday) 
5) We are offering signed copies of this year's fabulous Kids' Literary Festival poster for sale!  Email for details.   
Highlighting: Pre-War
A Frost in the Night
by Edith Baer

Frost in the Night cover
Eva is Jewish, growing up in Germany during Hitler's rise to power.  While most of her daily life continues as normal around her, she sees all sorts of subtle, and then less subtle, changes, her family becomes more grim and worried, as school bullies become empowered by the Nazi rhetoric, and other schoolmates -- and school teachers -- start to treat Eva, and other Jews, differently from other kids. 

She doesn't know what's coming, can't imagine her world changing so completely, but we as the readers can watch the transformations and know what's ahead for her people.  It can start so insidiously, people starting to view others as less important, dangerous, subhuman, leading almost inevitably to violence.

This book is out of print ... and apparently it's not available at the Library either ... but if you can find a copy, it's definitely worth a read.
Highlighting: Wartime
Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity cover
Code Name Verity -- Two young British women fly into occupied France, and one is captured. And we are presented with...her confession papers. Such as they are, for she is not a reliable narrator. I was really kind of stunned by this book. Some parts are devastating, while the overall tone is exuberant and full of astonishing humor and optimism. 

Rose Under Fire cover
Rose Under Fire focuses on another pilot, American this time, captured and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, full of women of many nationalities. She is also a poet, which actually helps the way she's treated there. Once again, the book is powerful and exciting and devastating all at once.  

The books are described as "companion" to each other (rather than a sequence), and the author does an excellent job of minimizing spoilers, but there is a significant overlapping character, and I recommend reading Verity first.
Highlighting: Aftermath
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea cover
This book takes place at the end of the war, in 1945, when vast numbers of refugees from different nations were evacuated by Germany over the Baltic Sea, to escape the advancing Soviet army.  Four young people, each from a different country, each dealing with their own experience of the war, try to band together to reach their escape -- assuming they make it.  Also about the largest maritime disaster ever.
Weekly events counting down to new Harry Potter releases!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is coming! The script of the new play comes out midnight at the end of July 30. Come to our midnight release party! 
Snape: A Definitive Reading is here! In the store! Come check it out, and then come to the release party, also the evening of July 30.

Beginning Saturday, June 18th, we've been celebrating with seven weekends of Harry Potter events! We're showing all eight movies, with different crafts and associated games each week. All events are free and appropriate for Harry Potter fans of all ages. Popcorn, snacks, trivia, and fun!

Next up:
Saturday, July 23, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 6.
  • 6 pm - Activities: POTION MAKING! Mix your own magic - but you'll have to taste test it! AND Invent your own magic spells.
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Click to read the full schedule on our blog.   You can reserve either book (or both) from us starting NOW by emailing
Wiit-Sharpening Potion, by ShockingBlankets
Further Recommendations:
Other YA and Middle Grade books about WWII

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit cover
Books I want to read:
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

  • Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Books I've read:
Books from Years Past...

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
Hard Love
by Ellen Wittlinger
The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Among Others by Jo Walton

Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion

For adults who read YA and teens who like to talk about books  


We had our final meeting on May 19. Newsletters will continue, with recommendations and reviews, and relevant events.


Please join us on the fourth Thursday of the month (with some exceptions) for the Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion, led by Jen Sheffield.  The young adult genre refers to the books under discussion; readers of all ages are welcome.  The books do not have to be big or blue, though that's always nice.


For a list of past selections, check out the Book Clubs page on the Big Blue Marble website.