My Librarian: Craig Graziano
Growing up in the Fredericksburg area, I adored visiting the public library. The Salem Church Branch opened when I was in third grade. My mom picked my sister and me up from school. Watching the odometer, we cheered as we pulled into the parking lot. “Only 1.3 miles!”
It was an escape, a chance to learn more about what we were interested in or to discover something completely new. I was hooked, tearing through comic books, science fiction, and anything with a wicked streak of humor. Plus, there was a fantastic selection of movies and music. I dove right in and began working at Salem Church in high school.
While earning a B.A. in English from the University of Mary Washington, I listened to much of my required reading while shelving books at the Headquarters Library. Audio books do count...but only if you’re paying attention! I earned an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and made it back just in time for our England Run Branch to open. I love books for every age level, whether it is a zany picture book, an angst-ridden young adult novel, or a great biography. If I like it, you’ll probably hear about it from me sooner or later.
Metro City’s very own superhero Captain Amazing is getting too old for his job, so he’s going to need some backup. Sidekicks is the journey of some die-hard hero wannabes who wish to join the captain for one very simple reason: They are his pets, and he hasn’t been paying them any attention lately.
It seems like a good idea, and Roscoe the dog (hero name Metal Mutt) seems like a shoe-in. Who would be a better superhero sidekick than man’s best friend? Unfortunately, ever since an incident with Amazing’s last animal sidekick, he’s adopted a strict no-pet policy.
Sure, all of these guys bring something to the table. Roscoe is big and strong; Shifty the Chameleon has powers of camouflage. Manny the cat has actual experience in the field. But what can tiny hamster Fluffy possibly do? At least he has a teeny, tiny Captain America costume.
A bright young girl runs through the chaos of demolished streets. Plumes of black smoke rise from the rubbled buildings. No one else is in sight. Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) is a life lesson that everyone should receive: always take responsibility for your actions, particularly when they involve a ginormous hulking robot with the power to crush cars and shoot lasers every which way.
Usually, when my school science projects went wrong, it was more of a mild disappointment than anything else. My baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano did not erupt. I received a C- instead of a B+. These are minor hiccups when compared to our main character’s situation. Oh No! allows us to think about our own mistakes and say, “Well, it could have been worse…much, much worse.”
There are a lot of stories out there: boy wizards, girl detectives, wimpy kids, and underpantsed captains. Despite the many possibilities and numerous titles to read, there may be that ever-lurking fear that there is not a story out there for you. In this is the case, you might want to avoid a panic attack by taking a note from Dr. Cuthbert Soup, head of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice.