Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

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I have been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan since I was young. I loved the original stories and any story that was based on Holmes and company, including The Great Mouse Detective, which was my favorite Disney movie as a child. Today, in honor of Sherlock’s birthday, I hope to once again share a bit of that enthusiasm with you, through works that are perfect for those who love Holmes and his friends and nemeses.

Statue of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock By David_Jones. CC BY 2.0.


Since Sherlock’s debut, his story has been subject to many adaptations, ranging from books that fill in the gaps between the original stories to TV shows such as the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’ Elementary. The literary world continues to offer new adaptations all the time, including many great young adult examples. If you want to see Sherlock, John, Mycroft, and Moriarty in completely new ways, you should track down these books right away.

Lock & Mori coverLock & Mori by Heather W. Petty – This book explores Sherlock and Moriarty’s lives as teens, though in this case Moriarty is a girl named James “Mori” Moriarty. Shortly after they meet, Lock and Mori are thrown together when a dead body is found in London’s Regent’s Park near their homes. This modern take on the Holmes mythology brings these classic characters to life in a whole new way while tackling issues of friendship, family, and trust.

Watson and Holmes - Study in BlackWatson and Holmes: A Study in Black by Karl Bollers, Rick Leonardi, and Larry Stroman – This volume collects the first story arc in a comic series that reimagines Sherlock and John as African Americans living and working in Harlem in modern-day New York City. The story updates many of the features of Doyle’s original works while maintaining the spirit and style that made those stories so popular. This more Watson-focused work was nominated for an Eisner-award and is a must-read for fans of comics and Sherlock alike.

Mycroft HolmesMycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse – Sherlock himself might not like the idea of a story focused on Mycroft Holmes. But, if you have always wanted to know a bit more about Sherlock’s big brother, you might want to check out this new book that sees a young Mycroft venturing off to Trinidad to solve a mystery. This book will give you a new way of looking at Mycroft and his influence on Sherlock.

A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This book, which will be published later this year, will definitely join my to-be-read list as soon as it is available! The story follows the great-great-great-grandchildren of Watson and Holmes as they come together to solve the mystery surrounding a classmate’s death. The first in a planned trilogy, this is definitely one that all Sherlock fans will want to check out.


In addition to all of the books that play with the characters and settings made famous by the original Sherlock Holmes stories, there are many other stories that are clearly influenced by the famous detective and his adventures. If you want to branch out a bit from Sherlock’s friends and family, while still staying within this style, these books will be sure to please.

GrandvilleGrandville by Bryan Talbot – This graphic novel and the others in the series may not actually retell the Sherlock Holmes’ stories, but they do capture much of the spirit of those tales. Set in an anthropomorphic and steampunk-influenced world that is run by animals, the series follows a Detective Inspector in Scotland Yard as he solves mysteries. And, by the way, the DI is a badger. The worldbuilding and artwork in this series will keep you turning pages as will the central mystery of this initial volume.

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens – This first book in the Wells and Wong series follows two girls at a UK boarding school in the 1930’s. When a teacher dies (and the body then disappears), Daisy Wells finally has an opportunity to be the Sherlock Holmes that she has always known that she could be. Readers are sure to love this setting and the twist it puts on the typical mystery story.

Jackaby coverJackaby by William Ritter – This book combines a detail-oriented investigator with supernatural elements to offer a fresh take on a serial killer investigation, this time set in 1890’s New England. This book made the 2015 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list and it is a must read for historical mystery fans.

I hope this post helps you to find the perfect book to celebrate Sherlock Holmes’ birthday! Let me know in the comments if I have missed any of your favorites!


— Carli Spina, currently reading All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

On the Schedule at a Glance in the Symposium’s program, Saturday’s list of events included a “Book Blitz” from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The only information about this event were a few pages in the program dedicated to Book Blitz Author Bios and a small box that stated: Each attendee will receive 6 tickets to exchange with these authors for free signed books!


Symposium veterans knew what to expect from the Blitz, but newcomers could be heard Friday evening and Saturday afternoon pondering, “What is this Book Blitz all about?”

This tweet from attendee Lauren Regenhardt sums up the experience pretty well:

Continue reading 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium: Book Blitz!

ALA Midwinter 2015: Best Fiction for Young Adults Feedback Session Recap

BFYA sessionOn Saturday, January 31, I had the privilege to not only attend the “Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA)” feedback session, I also was able to bring four of my local library teens to participate in the session.  Here is a picture of the five of us after the session posing with all of our swag bags.  My four teens joined up with other teen readers to comprise a group of 60, all ready to do what teens do best: share their opinions.

Just a little background, if you are unfamiliar with the BFYA list: throughout the year, librarians add books published that year to a nomination list.  From this nomination list, a committee reads the titles and ultimately whittles the list down to a BFYA Top Ten list.  In order to ensure that the best books make the Top Ten list, the committee holds a feedback session in which teens can share why they think a book should or should not be on the list.  The teens lined up at microphones that faced the committee members rather than the large crowd of librarians and teachers who stopped in to get the firsthand knowledge presented by the teens.  Each teen had no more than 90 seconds to prove their point and were allowed to write up their reviews ahead of time.  Unfortunately, due to the length of the nomination list, not every title was reviewed by the teens during the session.

Before I begin to share the details of the session, here is the BFYA Top Ten list:

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderNogginCarnival at Braygospel of winteryoung elitesthe story of owen

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jackaby by William Ritterwe_were_liarsJackabyvangocrossoveri'll give you the sun

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston

Vango by Timothee de Fombelle

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

There was one phrase that was constantly heard throughout the BFYA session.  That phrase was, “I completely disagree.”  Continue reading ALA Midwinter 2015: Best Fiction for Young Adults Feedback Session Recap