Friday, September 30, 2016

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Oct. 2)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers we make available at all locations.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Home
Author: Harlan Coben
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M COBEN
Summary: A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: what can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

#2: Commonwealth
Author: Ann Patchett
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: F PATCHETT
Summary: Commonwealth is the story of two broken families and the paths their lives take over the course of 40 years, through love and marriage, death and divorce, and a dark secret from childhood that lies underneath it all.

#3: The Underground Railroad
Author: Colson Whitehead
Weeks On List: 8
Call Number: F WHITEHEAD
Summary: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels.

#4: The Woman in Cabin 10
Author: Ruth Ware
Weeks On List: 10
Call Number: M WARE
Summary: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie's works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea.

#5: Razor Girl
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: M HIAASEN
Summary: When Lane Coolman's car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an innocent accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the offending car is Merry Mansfield--the eponymous Razor Girl--so named for her unique, eye-popping addition to what might be an otherwise unexciting scam. But, of course--this is Hiaasen!--the scam is only the very beginning of a situation that's going to spiral crazily out of control while gathering in some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page.

Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

#1: Killing the Rising Sun
Author: Bill O'Reilly
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: 940.542 ORE
Summary: Portrays the events of World War II in 1944, when escalating Pacific battles between the forces of General MacArthur and the Japanese army lead to the development of humanity's deadliest weapon and President Truman's impossible choice.

#2: Love Warrior
Author: Glennon Doyle Melton
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: After her husband confesses to multiple infidelities, a woman who has overcome bulimia and alcoholism struggles to grow — and so does he.

#3: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
Author: Amy Schumer
Weeks On List: 6
Call Number: 92 SCHUMER
Summary: Amy Schumer, Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star, mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationship, and sex, and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is--a woman with the courage to bare her soul and stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend -- an unforgettable and fun adventure you wish could last forever.

#4: Hillbilly Elegy
Author: J.D. Vance
Weeks On List: 9
Call Number: 92 VANCE
Summary: Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past.

#5: Hero of the Empire
Author: Candice Millard
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: The young Winston Churchill’s adventures in Africa during the Boer War, including an escape from captivity in 1899.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, get yourselves on the reserve lists and secure your spot in line.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Weekly Library Events (Oct. 3-8)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  For a complete listing, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Tween Time: Popsicle Spider Webs
Oct. 3 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Youth and teens, between the ages of 8-15, are invited to attend our monthly craft session at the Main Library where we'll be showing you how to create your own Spider Webs using popsicle sticks and other fun supplies.  It's the perfect craft for October, as we begin heading towards Halloween.  All materials will be supplied and there is no registration required.  For additional information, contact Kelsie Wade at 325-676-6067.

Basic Digital Photography
Oct. 3 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Join professional photographer Steve Templeton, and hear his tips on taking successful pictures. Bring your camera and owner’s manual for some hands on instruction.  Even if you’re somewhat experienced you’re sure to learn something that will enhance your skills.  For more information about this event, contact us at 325-676-6025.

Anime Club
Oct. 4 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 14-25, and you have a passion for all things related to anime and manga, don't miss out on your chance to be a part of our monthly Anime Club at your library.  Meeting on the first Tuesday evenings of the month, we meetup to watch hit anime shows, discuss cosplay, and all sorts of fun activities with your peers.  No registration is needed to be a part of the club, simply come out to our next session and check us out.  For more information, contact Amanda Sasser at 325-676-6067.

Where to Start to Love Your Heart
Oct. 4 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Heart disease remains the number one killer of Americans.  Come learn how to support cardiovascular health with food, under the direction of nutritional health coach Dessire Armstrong.  Bring a pen, and something to write on, and gain some valuable information from a local expert in our community.  For additional information about this event, please contact us at 325-676-6025.

Make & Take: Scarecrows
Oct. 6 at 4:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Kids of all ages are invited to join us at the library, after school, for some crafting fun with library staff.  As we're in the Fall season, this activity will be centered around scarecrows, where we'll supply all the materials necessary for showing you how to create your own decorations.  There's no need to register, just come out and be ready to have some fun at your library.  For additional information, feel free to contact Darla Casella at 325-437-7323.

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Oct. 6 at 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you have a child between the ages of 10-17, and they love to express themselves through writing, don't miss out on the chance to be a part of the weekly Collecting Commas Writing Club at your Main Library.  Meeting every Thursday afternoon at 4:00PM, this group meets to hone their creative writing skills in all form of writing including novels, short stories, poetry, and more.  Plus, we make writing fun by engaging in a host of fun activities to help inspire ideas and participation among participants.  There's no need to register to be a part of this club, simply come check out a meeting and see if it's meant for you.  For more information about this weekly program, contact Kelsie Wade at 325-676-6067.

Adult Coloring Club
Oct. 6 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Local adults are invited to join us for our monthly Coloring Club activity night at the Main Library.  We're here to show you that coloring just isn't for kids, and it's a great way to socialize with others while relieving some stress too.  Meet us at the library to do just that and we'll supply all the coloring pages and materials you'll need.  If you wish to bring your own supplies, you're more than free to do so.  For more information about this program, please feel free to contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025.

OverDrive for eBooks
Oct. 7 at 9:00AM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Did you know your Abilene Public Library offers a great lineup of digital services available to all library cardholders for free?  One of the ways you can use them is to checkout and download eBooks for use on PCs, tablets, and smartphones.  If you need help on getting started, we invite you to make use of this program that will be offered every Friday in October.  Call 325-437-7323 and schedule a time for come in and allow staff to show you how to get started with using the OverDrive, the most popular digital service in our lineup. 

Super Storytime: Boo to You
Oct. 7 at 10:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Kids and parents are invited to join us for the monthly Super Storytime event at your Main Library featuring great stories, songs, crafts and more.  For October, the theme will be "Boo To You" where we'll share some scary (but not-so-scary) stories with kids and even make some cool crafts like a ghost craft using cotton balls and paper.  Don't miss out on this enhanced storytime activity, and for additional information, contact Insperation Sanchez at 325-676-6067.

Procraftinators
Oct. 8 at 10:00AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Calling all Procraftinators (aka procrastinators who craft and create)! Do you still have a pile of WIPs (works in progress)? This winter bring all those projects that you want to finish before the holidays to the Abilene Public Library. Mark your calendar for a dedicated time to get out of the house and work on all those crafty creations that you want to finish up. Whether you knit, crochet, or cross stitch all crafters are welcome.  Don't miss out on this event, and for additional information, contact us at 325-676-6025.

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what they have to offer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book-To-Film Adaptations: October 2016

Literature often inspires film adaptations and each month I like to highlight those hitting theaters soon.  Check out this blog entry to see what they are, and be on the lookout for seeing them in theaters...as well as checking out their source material at your library.

The Girl on the Train
Starring: Emily Blunt
Release Date: Oct. 7
Author: Paula Hawkins
Summary: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Starring: Griffin Gluck
Release Date: Oct. 7
Author: James Patterson
Summary: Imaginative quiet teenager Rafe Katchadorian is tired of his middle school's obsession with the rules at the expense of any and all creativity.  Desperate to shake things up, Rafe and his best friends have come up with a plan: break every single rule in the school and let the students run wild.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Starring: Tom Cruise
Release Date: Oct 21
Based On: "Never Go Back"
Author: Lee Child
Summary: Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name.  On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.

American Pastoral
Starring: Ewan McGregor
Release Date: Oct. 28
Based On: "American Pastoral"
Author: Philip Roth
Summary: In 1968, a hardworking man, who's been a staple in his quaint community for years, watches his seemingly perfect middle class life fall apart as his daughter's new radical political affiliation threatens to destroy their family.

Inferno
Starring: Tom Hanks
Release Date: Oct. 28
Based On: "Inferno"
Author: Dan Brown
Summary: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe, against the clock, to foil a deadly global plot.

And there you have it, your look at October's book-to-film adaptations to be on the lookout for.

Monday, September 26, 2016

"eBooks for Children from Your Library" | @ the Library Article

How often are you sitting in a restaurant or standing in a line with your children and they are so bored that you really, really need something to help entertain them?  These days it's pretty easy to hand the children our cellphone or tablet and allow games or YouTube to entertain them.  That's nice, but what if I told you that your Abilene Public Library provides a great resource for kids that is not only entertaining, but educational?  Tumblebooks and Tumblebooks, Jr. are provided by the Abilene Public Library, as just two of many such resources for kids.

What is Tumblebooks?  According their website, "TumbleBookLibrary is an online collection of animated, talking picture books which teach young children the joys of reading in a format they'll love."  Tumblebooks provides books that can be listened to or read, as well as videos, puzzles, games, and more.  Although the website's primary purpose is to promote reading, other concepts such as math, spelling, science, and history are also presented.  There is also a language learning tab that reads books in other languages and provides games to reinforce concepts that have been taught.

One great thing about these books is that the children may read along with the books, so they are hearing the words, looking at the pages, and the words are highlighted on the page as they read.  Fluency studies have shown that this is an excellent method for helping readers who struggle to read because of dyslexia or other problems.  This is also helpful for beginning readers who can grow their vocabulary by seeing the written words while hearing them.

Very short, educational videos, including National Geographic videos, are also available through the website.  These cover different categories, such as: Animals and Nature, Space & Technology, Geography, History, Biology, Science, Earth Science, and Social Studies.

What ages should use Tumblebooks?  All age groups may enjoy and benefit from this website; however, Tumblebooks is geared to appeal from toddlers to 3rd grade.  TumbleBookCloud is designed for children in grades three to six with longer stories and higher reading and interest levels.  Many of the books also include quizzes and lesson plans which are linked to Common Core guidelines for teachers and students.  Both websites provide Accelerated Reading quiz information as well.

You can access their website through the library's homepage by typing in www.abilenetx.com/apl, clicking on the Digital Services link, then scrolling down to the Tumblebook link.  For ease of access, simply bookmark that page or add a shortcut to your homescreen or desktop, and your child can easily access it.  Tumblebooks provides great books and resources for children, parents, and teachers and they are right at your fingertips on your phone or tablet through your Abilene Public Library!

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Saturday, September 24, 2016

"Authors Speak to Luncheon Audience at Boots & Books Event in Abilene" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article by Janet Van Vleet, Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Abilene Reporter-News, Sept. 24, 2016

Hundreds gathered to enjoy barbecue and celebrate literacy Saturday at the annual Boots & Books Luncheon, the final event of the West Texas Book Festival

The weeklong book festival coordinated by the Friends of the Abilene Public Library features authors, book signings and other happenings.

Leila Meacham Receiving A.C. Greene Award
Texas author Leila Meacham received the A.C. Greene Award, presented to a distinguished Texas author for lifetime achievement.

She thanked the Friends for choosing her for the honor and said she felt deeply privileged.

Meacham same her right to call herself a Texan has been called into questions as she spent the first three weeks of her life east of the Sabine River.  Her mother, carrying twins, could not make it back home in time for Meacham and her brother to be born in Texas.

"I say, 'Phooey!'" she exclaimed.  "I didn't smile until I was on Texas soil.  I am a Texan."

She told the audience she had written her first romance novel when she was 40 and ended up signing a three-book contact.  The experience was such a poor one, she stopped writing entirely.  But 25 years later, she started writing again and wrote four Texas epics - more than 600 pages each - in six years.

Setting the books in Texas offered "excellent fiber for fiction."

Alyssa Crow Wins Librarian Award
Alyssa Crow, the children's librarian at the south branch of the Abilene Public Library, was named the Ricki Brown Librarian of the Year.

Surprised and ecstatically happy, Crow repeated, "Thank you, thank you, thank you" over and over again.  She thanked the person who nominated her for the award and said, "Good job."

Carlton Stowers, a contributing writer to "West Texas Stories," which features many local authors, spoke about his childhood entrepreneurial spirit when he collected horned toads and shipped them to a curio shop in Topeka, Kansas.  He used the money, 10 cents per toad, to pay the 9 cents to go to the movies on Saturday afternoons in Ballinger.

Festival chairman Glenn Dromgoole and author Joe Specht led the crowd in a chorus of "Abilene" before Stowers spoke.  The song includes the line about Abilene that "the women there don't treat you mean."

Stowers had his own opinion on that.

"That songwriter didn't know some of the women I knew growing up," said the Abilene High School alum.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Culinary Luncheon Boasts Recipes by Featured West Texas Book Festival Authors" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article by Janet Van Vleet, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Abilene Reporter-News, Sept. 22, 2016

The TSTC Culinary Institute rang with conversation Thursday as dozens of diners gathered to feast on Grilled Steak Pinwheels, Salad Puffballs and Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach.

The Culinary Cuisines Luncheon is part of the weeklong West Texas Book Festival.

Volunteers from local organizations served as the waitstaff.
The lunch menu came from the cookbooks of four featured authors - Jacqueline Cavender ("As the Spur Spins"), Melissa Guerra ("The Texas Provincial Kitchen"), and Laura Samuel Meyn and Anthony Head ("Meatless in Cowtown: A Vegetarian Guide to Food and Wine, Texas Style").

Cavender (yes, of Cavender's Western Wear) spoke at the beginning and let everyone know that proceeds from her book were going to the American Cancer Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Society.

Her book features recipes from her mother and mother-in-law, close friends and celebrities such as musician Pat Green, former First Lady Laura Bush and actor Dennis Quaid.

Also speaking before lunch began was Guerra, who grew up and lives on a working cattle ranch along the border between Texas and Mexico.

"My family's been there for a long time," she said.  "My maiden name is McAllen, so that tells you how long."

Dessert was peach cobbler, from "The Texas Provincial Kitchen."

Meyn spoke to the crowd, explaining that she and Head met while working at Bon Appetit, a culinary magazine.  She said the cookbook includes recipes from her husband and Head's wife, as well as from the two authors.

"It's what we cook, eat and drink when we're together," Meyn said.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Weekly Library Events (Sept. 26 - Oct. 1)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  For a complete listing, visit our main website to take a look at our program calendar.

Twisted Tales Teen Book Club
Sept. 26 at 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're a teen who loves to read, you'll certainly want to be a part of our Twisted Tales Book Club at your Main Library.  Each month we'll meet up to discuss popular YA literature that are full of twists, or re-tellings of familiar stories we heard as children.  This month's featured book is "Unhooked" by Lisa Maxwell, in a fantasy story filled with twists and turns about a girl who is kidnapped and brought to an island inhabited by fairies, a roguish ship captain, and bloodthirsty beasts.  Check out a copy of this book from your library, read it, and then come ready to discuss it with other teens in the community.  For more information, contact Kelsie Wade at 325-676-6067.

How to Have the Best Pet Possible
Sept. 26 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
The community is invited to come out and join us for a free workshop, led by Pat Brannan of Pat's Pawsitive Dog Training, LLC.  She will be on hand to lead a great workshop, both discussing and demonstrating, how every dog is trainable (regardless of breed or age) with positive reinforcement.  If you have a four-legged friend you've been trying to train, this is the perfect workshop to attend to get the tips and tricks you need from a local expert.  We also ask that you leave your own pets at home for this event.  If you need additional information, feel free to contact Dennis Miller at 325-676-6025. 

Facebook: You're Doing It Wrong
Sept. 27 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
The community is invited out to a free workshop that's all about learning how to use Facebook, to the fullest, at your business.  Learn how to save yourself, and your business, from social media woes at this program led by Desiree Martinez.  Since 2010, Martinez has been doing just that by helping entrepreneurs plan and execute social media strategies, as well as produce creative content.  Be sure to have something to take notes on, as well as come with your questions, and for additional information, contact Dennis Miller at 325-676-6025. 

Tracing Your Roots: Beginner's Genealogy Workshop
Sept. 28 at 10:00AM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
If you have an interest in getting started in tracing your family history, we invite you to attend this free introductory workshop at your Mockingbird Branch Library.  This workshop will be led by experienced local genealogist Cindy Jones, who has presented at the Abilene Public Library a number of times over the years, bringing your passion for genealogy to guests each time.  A this workshop, she'll be on hand to explain the basics of genealogy research and how to get started with unraveling your own family history.  Once you start, you may just be surprised at how addictive it can be.  For more information on this program, contact Anne Ellis at 325-437-7323.

Collecting Commas Writing Club
Sept. 29 at 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Youth are invited to be a part of our weekly writing club at your library, where you can hone your creative writing skills in all forms from novels to poetry.  Each week we meet to work on various writing activities in a stress-free environment with your peers, and we even work on larger joint projects such as putting together poetry slams, writing plays, doing skits, and more.  We have a great group of youth attending each month, and we want you to be a part of the writing fun at your library.  There's no need to register, and for additional club information, contact Kelsie Wade at 325-676-6067.

Attracting Monarchs to Your Garden
Sept. 29 at 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
If you ever wanted to maximize your chances for having the monarch butterflies visit your home, this is the perfect workshop to come out and attend at your library.  We'll be welcoming out Texas Master Gardener and Naturalist Jean Dotson, who will share how attracting these butterflies with milkweed can be both fun and educational for all ages.  Don't miss out on this great program at your library, and for additional information, contact Dennis Miller at 325-676-6025. 

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what they have to offer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Published Author, 11, Reflects On Her Long Career" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article by Greg Jaklewicz, Editorial Page Editor for the Abilene Reporter-News, Sept. 21, 2016

Vicky Gao thinks back to a book she wrote when she was younger, "The Super Power GIrls."  Reading that work now, she finds it "childish."

Vicky is 11.

The Craig Middle School sixth-grader was spotlighted Tuesday night as a locally published author at this year's West Texas Book Festival.  Yes, she was the youngest author in the room.

Her latest book is "The Curse of the Stone."  It's 245 pages and self-published.  Not quite Stephen King territory but in this day of 144-character limit per tweet, darn impressive.  Book festival organizer Glenn Dromgoole, who gave his 2-minute sales pitch just before Vicky, is fond of writing much shorter works.  "The Curse of the Stone" would be at least three writing projects for him.

Vicky herself is equally impressive - a mature, polite, confident and funny young lady.  She is one of three children in the Gao family.  Her brother, 5-year-old James, followed her around the main Abilene Public Library on Tuesday.  Her sister, 2-year-old Christina, stayed with their mother, Wei.  Mom is an accountant at Hardin-Simmons University, where their father, Fei, is an assistant professor of finance.  They moved here in 2010 from Pullman, Washington, home of Washington State University.

You would guess correctly they are Asian-Americans, and that plays significantly into Vicky's life.  Each summer, the family travels to China, where her parents met, to visit his parents and two aunts.

It's a long trip via the Pacific Ocean, one she understands more clearly now that she is studying geography in middle school.

It was during a visit in 2014 that she came across something stuck to a pole.  She first thought it might be gum - how else would it stay in place?  But it was a stone.

"I thought, 'That's odd.  How is it supported?'" Vicky said.  Her imagination took that unusual sight and ran with it.

In her book, orphaned twin brother and sister Aerida and Aegilus find strange stones, which transport them to another world.  There, they discover they have magical powers.  They make friends, who tag along, and obtain dragons, eventually setting off on a fantastic quest.  But the stones are cursed and the four tasks they must accomplish - including forging a sword with great power - not only are almost impossible, they must be done within seven days.  (Think doing your tax return a week before April 15 without TurboTax.)

If the siblings fail, they die.

"I tried to have suspense in it," Vicky said.  Yes, facing death does up the ante.

I know what you are thinking?  How very Potteresque.  Harry vs. Lord Voldemort and all that.

You are right.  And are you surprised?  J.K. Rowling's series has ignited imaginations from Abilene to Zhengzhou.

Vicky said the Potter books - "The Goblet of Fire" is her favorite - were part of her inspiration, having read the entire series years ago.

"One after another," she said.  That was the year she was a 7-million-word reader; each May, Abilene ISD students are honored for having read 1 million words.  Her mother said that as a fourth-grader, her daughter read 11 million words.

Vicky giggled at the suggestion that she reads a lot.  When does she have time to draw and to learn to play the music of South Korean pianist/composer Yiruma (her favorite, who began serious study at 10)?

Her book took a year to write.  She said she sometimes wrote with great motivation but other times was "down about it."

"I gave up on previous books but I stuck with it," she said.  (Vicky, it has happened to all of us would-be authors...)

Was she excited when she saw her book in paperback arrive at her home?

"The first time a shipment came, I was screaming with excitement," she said.  "And that's not an exaggeration."

Her mother, she said, beamed at the sight.

Vicky paused and shared a dark secret: Neither parent, she said, has read her book "in its entirety."

There was a hint of disapproval in her smile.

Vicky has read it three times but acknowledged "it got boring" the fourth time.

A friend her age in Pullman read it and said it "was one of her favorite books."  Like, ever.

Vicky is intent on not being a one-hit wonder, like Harper Lee of "To Kill a Mockingbird" fame.

She is 50 or so pages into a new adventure, this one titled "The Scent."  A girl (of course) has the ability to sniff out a person's inner scent.  So, if she smells apple, you probably have good taste and make good decisions.  If she smells cherry blossom, you are sweet.  If she smells something foul, you might be a presidential candidate...

That scent ability will come in handy when she faces off with the bad guys, called Headers, and their robot minions on her quest for a prize.

Vicky has been writing since she was 7.

"I wasn't publishing then," she said, matter-of-factly.

She said she probably will look back in three to five years at "The Curse of the Stone" and view it with more discernment.  By then, she may be on the New York Times' best-seller list.

"I'll ask myself, 'Why did I write that?'" she said.

Her book has a happy ending.  Readers want happy endings, she said, sounding very much like the veteran author she is.  The other authors in the room Tuesday, especially those writing romance novels, would agree.

What's it like to have an author in class, a superpower girl?

"What a talented, delightful little girl," said Debra Smith, Vicky's language arts teacher at Craig for just six weeks.  "She converses as well with adults as she does her peers - she is so social in presenting herself.  Of course, she's an excellent writer and she's already a million-word reader.  She said she read only 8 million words last year because fifth grade was harder.  But she is well-balanced."

Vicky said it would be totally cook if "The Curse of the Stone" became an accepted accelerated reading book in schools.

"I wonder if they'd let me take an AR test on it," she said.