About the Company:
Mackin Educational Resources provides high-quality library and classroom materials to PK-12 schools and public libraries around the world, including books, ebooks, DVDs, audiobooks, educational software, online databases and more. Mackin also has the largest PK-12 database of titles in the country, as well as providing free collection analysis and collection development services. These services include recommended title lists customized for each collection and created by real librarians.
About the Blog:
All of the books in our blog are ones we highly recommend. No negative reviews here–if a book is listed, we think highly of it. And even though all are good, some are EXTRA good, sort of like a yummy brownie—with frosting. These “Mackin picks” will be marked with a purple flower. And then there are books that we just can’t wait to talk about, so we’ll post about them months before they actually come out. These “Promising Blooms” will be marked with a yellow flower.
The book links in our blog will bring you to Mackin’s website, where you will be asked to log in before you view the book record. If you do not yet have an account, you will have the opportunity to complete a brief, one-time registration.
Mackin respects your privacy. Your registration information will never be revealed or transferred to a third-party for any purpose. It will only be used for login purposes or to automatically sign you up for the email newsletter. You can remove your name from the email list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Bloggers:
Mindy R: Mindy Rhiger has been in Mackin’s Collection Development department since 2009. After completing her MLS in 2001, she worked as a Young Adult Librarian in a Chicago-area public library for a few years before moving to Minnesota, where she found herself on the business side of the library field for the first time. She spent three years at another book company before coming to Mackin.
Mindy mostly reads realistic teen fiction, but she also spends a lot of time reading everything from picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels with her seven-year-old daughter. She has reviewed for Library Journal and written about books for other publications as well. Her current favorite book is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, but her answer might be different next time you ask.
Ryan H: Ryan Haindfield has been with Mackin since October 2011. He has an undergraduate degree in Child Development from Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!) and received his MLIS in 2010. Previously, he worked as a teaching assistant in the Saint Paul Public School system, where he managed a school library and worked with students in the classroom. He has held many other jobs in his life, including social worker, youth counselor, and stay-at-home dad (this position had two very demanding bosses, his boys, Connor and Lucas).
Ryan’s reading tastes are diverse…he reads a lot of contemporary fiction, but mixes in healthy doses of science titles, classic literature, and whatever else catches his eye. He has a soft spot for young adult coming-of-age tales, and his favorite author is David Mitchell. He loves discussing and recommending books to anyone who will listen.
Tracey L: Tracey Luehrs has been a Collection Development librarian at Mackin Educational Resources since September 2005. Since earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, she has taught second grade, run a daycare center from her home, and tutored children in reading and writing. She also has an MLIS from Dominican University, through the College of St. Catherine. Tracey’s two sons—Alex is 26 and Nathan is 21—are resigned to the fact that their mother turns every conversation to books that she has read, is reading, or wants to read.
Tracey’s favorite type of reading material is fantasy (also fairy tales, mysteries, picture books, thrillers, “popular” science and history, grammar books, science fiction, historical fiction, book reviews, and essays). Her favorite book is…you’re kidding, right?
Anna M.: Anna has worked in the Collection Management department since 2012 and graduated in the summer of 2013 with her MLIS from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has previously worked at her undergraduate University library as a circulation assistant and a public library in Ramsey County where she created an evening story time and staffed the children’s and teen’s reference desk. Outside of the library world she loves spending time with her husband, Adam, reading (obviously), and engaging in summer activities.
Anna reads mostly fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal fiction. But, she is willing to venture in other genres if something is particularly note worthy. If she had to choose a few of her favorite books, they would be: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
Zach K: Zach Koenig started working in Mackin’s Collection Development department in July of 2014. After four years of undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota-Morris and a number of years spent honing his customer service skills in the retail sector, Zach obtained his MLS from Clarion University. He also spent some time in the St. Anthony (MN) School District working in their shared middle/high school Media Center.
As far as leisurely pursuits, Zach can usually be found reading, cheering on the MN Twins & Vikings from the stadium or couch, watching movies & TV shows, bowling, or writing product reviews. His favorite reading genres mirror his personal interests, as he always enjoys a good baseball/football history book, science fiction tale, history tome, biography, or the latest Stephen King new release. Fun Fact: Zach is currently reading The American Presidents series, which includes an installment on each U.S. President.
Zach’s philosophy on reading can be summed up in this quote from William Styron: “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
Lisa K: Lisa has worked as a Classroom Services Project Manager since April of 2015. After obtaining her Elementary Education degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato she taught preschool for many years until eventually becoming the director of her school. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling “up north” to the cabin, and catching up with friends.
Since starting at Mackin, Lisa has been overwhelmed by the number of excellent books piling up on her office book shelf. As her “want to read” list grows each day, she has enlisted her husband and three kids to help pick up the slack! The genre of choice at their house lately seems to be historical fiction, with a most recent favorite being Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. …and although the new books are exciting, Lisa’s all time favorites are those special picture books that have had the ability to captivate an entire classroom of preschoolers from beginning to end!
Leslie E: Leslie Erickson is the “new kid on the block” in the collection management department. She retired as a school library media specialist a year ago. Many years prior to that, Leslie received her Elementary teaching degree, went on to receive a Masters in Science to become an elementary science prep teacher, and then obtained her Masters in Library Science. Married over forty years to the same great guy and mother of two super adult children plus her experiences and memories of being with students brings her an abundance of joy in life. She still gets together with her former students socially, now that they are adults, too. Picture books are Leslie’s favorite reading choice, but in the adult area historical fiction and mysteries round out her choice list. Being in three book clubs has opened her eyes to all the wonderful selections we have in books. When you find those special books and authors, share them with a friend and shout it from the rooftops! How lucky we are to have books to read, whether in electronic format or in print.
Tuan N.: Tuan Nguyen is a Library Consultant for Mackin Educational Resources and has been consulting for the past 8 years. Tuan has paneled and presented graphic novels on many different stages including at ALA, TLA and recently at last year’s San Diego International Comic Convention. He helped developed the Maverick Graphic Novel Committee for the Texas Library Association. Tuan received his Masters in Library Science at the University of North Texas and is notably undefeated in death matches.
Maureen S: Maureen came to Mackin in 2006 after working 7 years in Minnetonka School District Media Centers. She received her MLIS from Dominican University where she was a classmate of Tracey L. As a Collection Analyst at Mackin, Maureen enjoys talking to customers about their library collection. She also is a coordinator for New School Services and Special Projects.
In true librarian form, Maureen likes to garden and knit, but is sorry to say she does not own any cats. She is fan of audio books, which help ease the commute to and from work. Maureen lives with her husband in downtown Minneapolis and gets her library fix by volunteering at Minneapolis Central Library.
Ann G: Ann Girres has been a part of Mackin’s Collection Management team since 2011. She has spent almost all of her career in the education field–first as an English teacher, and then, for many years, as a school media specialist.
Ann reads mostly nonfiction. Her favorite fields are biography and history. When she reads fiction, she prefers the realistic kind (although there are always exceptions).
Her favorite literary quote comes from Grouch Marx: Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. In case you couldn’t guess, she’s a big fan of dogs as well as reading.
Kristin J (Kristin is no longer an active blogger for Books in Bloom): Kristin Jones is a new addition to the Collection Development department at Mackin Educational Resources. She recently graduated with her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is pleased to be able to put her degree to good use! Prior to becoming a librarian, Kristin worked as a library clerk in multiple public libraries and completed two librarian internships. When she isn’t immersed in the literary world, Kristin loves to spend time with her boyfriend Jeremy and their three fur-children (Sadie, Daise and Sophie).
Kristin loves to read virtually everything she can get her hands on. Her favorite genres include fairy-tales retold, paranormal romance, historical fiction, realistic fiction and dystopias. If she had to choose a favorite book, she would not be able to choose just one, but here are some of her favorites: The Hollow Series by Jessica Verday, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.
Lindsey L: Lindsey Lobner has enjoyed her time as a Collection Development librarian for Mackin Educational Resources for the last two years. She graduated with her MLIS from St. Catherine University in 2010. Before working at Mackin, Lindsey worked as a clerk in a University library, completed a public library internship, and worked at a small locally-owned bookstore.
Like any librarian worth her salt, Lindsey spends a vast majority of her free time immersed in the literary world. She will give most anything a try, but is especially drawn to fantasy, both high and realistic, historical fiction and nonfiction, and any story where love conquerors all. Like any booklover, Lindsey finds it hard to narrow down her favorite books, but if forced, she would have to say her top five books are Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Enna Burning by Shannon Hale, The Odyssey by Homer, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Standing for Something by Gordon B. Hinckley. (And it only took her a painstaking half an hour to narrow it down to those five).
Special thanks to Taia Morley for her wonderful pictures of our original bloggers! To see more of Taia’s great work, click here.