Author Archives: Sarah Thompson

About Sarah Thompson

Writer, Bibliophile, Young Adult Librarian

Vegas, librarians, and historical fiction

So it’s a little late, but I did actually make it back from Vegas, and I promised an update. But first, I have a super cool announcement…

I just won Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest in the historical fiction category!!!!

This is my first novel, and I’m beyond excited. I’ve just started to pursue traditional publication, so needless to say, this is a huge encouragement for me! They’ve posted my first chapter, so if you’d like read it, make sure and visit the above link to see the article. Or just click here for the full chapter.

Anyhow, so Vegas….

  • Cons: Well, let’s just say Vegas isn’t my thing. And there were a handful of sessions I walked away a bit disappointed from, but that’s just the way conferences go. But, I’m aiming to try PLA in 2016–the trouble so far is that I’ll go to a session that seems interesting but will turn out to be geared more for librarians in other services, like schools, universities, etc.
  • Pros: Lots of books, lots of authors. Time with my best friend! :-) Great time to get away and refocus, which was perfect, because I’m facing some interesting changes and challenges at work. Saw the fountain and Paris, which was pretty cool. Got a book signed by B.J. Novak. Favorite session: hosting teen film festivals at the library–definitely one of my goals for next summer!
  • YA Books I’m most looking forward to reading: Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen, The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, and Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.


I also got the opportunity to (gasp!) read while I was on the trip. I was crazy, and brought two with me, because I don’t think I’ll ever get used to reading ebooks. My friend kept heckling me about whether I’d fit 15 (16ish?) books in the carry-on for the return trip. I was victorious.

I read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, based on the YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, based on, of course, Pride and Prejudice. If you are a fan at all, you need to read, and watch, these modern adaptations immediately. They’re absolutely amazing. (Dare I say this version of Darcy is my favorite??? I think I just dared. Sorry, Colin Firth.)

But I was even more blown away by the second book. The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot. Centered around the notorious Confederate prison, Andersonville, it’s about three young southerners–a soldier, a guard, and a doctor’s daughter–who are so disturbed by the suffering of their enemy that they set out to do what they can to make a difference. The characters were so real and engaging, to say I was moved by them is a terrible understatement. And for the last quarter of the book I was almost ugly-crying, which is probably the highest praise that I can offer! :-)

Sad to say I’m still behind on my Goodreads challenge, but I’m going to sneak in a few short Middle Grade books I’ve been meaning to read to catch up. ;-)

Until next time… what’s your favorite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice?

Categories: Books, updates, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Off to ALA!

I’m flying out this weekend for two firsts:

  • first American Library Association conference
  • first trip to Las Vegas

The irony is not lost on me.

(Am I using that correctly? There’s a different word I should be using, isn’t there? Does anyone else have an irrational fear of misusing the concept of “irony” on the internet?)

Anyhow, needless to say, the idea of librarians gathering in Vegas amuses me to no end.

Super excited, as I usually go to the state’s annual conference, but I wanted to try something new this year. I’m hoping to get some fresh ideas for my teen program, meet a few authors, and come home with an armful of free books.

Librarian vacations conferences are the best!

I’ll likely be posting updates on Twitter this weekend, and I’ll share some highlights next week here on the blog.

Have a great rest of the week!

Categories: Libraries, updates | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Little Birdie in the Tree

My niece turns two this week! I can’t believe how quickly these past two years have gone.

When she was a newborn, I had the privilege of helping rock her to sleep on many occasions. Like any good aunt, I would sing to her all the songs my mother used to sing to me.

One of my favorites is a little tune called Little Birdie in the Tree. Mom sang it to us, Grandma sang it too−at the time, I thought it was as common as any other childhood lullaby.

I mentioned it once to a coworker, and I was shocked to discover that she, a children’s librarian, had never heard of it. Neither had any of my other coworkers. In fact, the more people I polled, the more I realized that nobody knew what I was talking about.

So, being the good little librarian that I am, I hit Google to find out more. ;-)

After a few hours of searching for an audio sample (no joke), I came across a partial recording of the song that was fairly similar, from Lyon College’s John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection:


Good, I think, I’m not crazy! But I still had no idea where this song came from. Clearly not from Texas, so I assumed. I’ve since found a 1939 recording of a man from Houston, but there’s no information on who introduced the song to him. The woman in the audio above was from Arkansas, but if you listen closely at the end, even she is unsure of its origins.

My grandmother was born in Pennsylvania, however, and she said her mother sang it to her as well, so I directed my search there.

Finally, I stumbled across my answer: the song came from an old Sunday School hymnal, published  in 1871, by Philip Paul Bliss. It circulated around Ohio and west Pennsylvania, but not any further than that, as far as I could find.

My theory now is that this lullaby was passed down from my great great grandmother, who was born in Butler Pennsylvania in 1879. Of course, it could have come from her husband, born 1871. Hmm…

The best part of this story? I found one of these original hymnals on eBay!


See the full lyrics here on Google Books

So thank you, Penelope, for inspiring Aunt Sarah to track down a cool piece of family history. Happy Birthday, my sweet girl! :-)

I’m curious to see if anyone else is familiar with this little song, or its history. Let me know in the comments!

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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