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1. App of the Week: OneShot

Name: OneShot
Platform: iOS
Cost:Free

oneshot logo Imagine that one afternoon after school the teens you work with are hanging out at the library reading articles of personal interest on their iPhones. All of a sudden one of the teens reads something that she has to let others know about. So, she decides she wants to Tweet the link. But, really what she wants to do is highlight one particular sentence in the article for her friends to read. She could copy and paste the text into Twitter, but maybe that makes her Tweet too long to post easily. But then she realizes, I have OneShot on my phone and I can take a screenshot of the part of the article that I want to point out, highlight the text on the screenshot, and then add that image to the Tweet. So, that's what she does.

I think that story highlights that OneShot is a simple idea and a simple app that does one thing really well - allows Twitter users to use screenshots in Tweets and enables highlighting in those screenshots (OneShot also makes it possible to crop screenshots and add a background color). It's one of those apps that before I used it I didn't realize I needed it. I was making due with the tools I had - copy and paste, ordinary screenshots, and so on.

Here is an example of a recent Tweet that I posted using OneShot to highlight a portion of a web page:

At the moment the app only works on iPhones. The developers say that a universal version should be available any day now which means that it will be available for iPad as well. I can see that the iPad version could be very useful for teens and staff who are reading articles and web pages on their personal and/or library provided devices.

I know that OneShot probably seems like just an extra tool that is OK to have but not a necessity. But, if the teens you work with, your colleagues, or yourself take part in Tweeting that includes links to articles and other web content, try it out. I think you'll be happy that you did.

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2. The Last Jews in Berlin

The Last Jews in Berlin. Leonard Gross. 1982/2015. Open Road Media. 343 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The Last Jews in Berlin was a good read. It was oh-so-close to being a great read every now and then. What I loved about this one were the personal stories. These stories were the heart of the book. Readers get to meet dozens of people and follow their stories. As you can imagine, these stories can be intense.

Instead of telling each person's story one at a time, one after the other, the book takes a more chronological approach. The book is told in alternating viewpoints. Is this for the best? On the one hand, I can see why this approach makes it more difficult for readers to follow individuals, to keep track of each person's story. Just when you get good and attached to a certain person's narrative, it changes. It takes a page or two perhaps before you reconnect with the next narrator and get invested in that unfolding story. On the other hand, telling the story like this sets a certain tone, increases tension and suspense, and avoids repetition. So I can see why it makes sense. The method of storytelling didn't bother me.

Probably the one thing I learned from reading this is that there were Jews working with the Nazis and turning other Jews in. That there were Jews betraying one another trying to survive. One simply didn't know who to trust.

At the same time, the book shares stories of people who were trustworthy, people who were willing to risk their own lives to help Jews. Life was hard for everyone: but some were willing to share their food and open up their homes at great risk. The book did show that not every person supported the Nazis and their philosophy. There were people who disagreed and were willing to do the right thing.

It's an emotional book, very intense in places.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. RHYMOCEROS by Janik Coat

Hooray! Janik Coat, creator of the fantastic hippoposites, brought to us by the wonderful people at Abrams Appleseed in 2012, is back with a companion book - RHYMOCEROS! Coat has a visually stunning style that is paired with a fresh take on what are usually tired concept books. Where hippoposites stands out for a creative use of opposites, RHYMOCEROS is equally matched with creative rhymes -

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4. New Voices: Opening the Book With Peggy Kern!

Peggy Kern, author of Little Peach, one of our Winter 2015 New Voices, stopped by The Pageturn to chat! Little PeachYou can find a sneak peek of the novel right here.

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

My favorite book as a teen was Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I just finished Citizen by Claudia Rankine, which is absolutely brilliant.

What is your secret talent?

I think my friends would say that I can select the perfect song/playlist for any given occasion. So, awesome DJ. That’s my secret talent.

Fill in the blank The movie Little Miss Sunshine always makes me laugh.

My current obsessions are:

D’Angelo’s new album, Black Messiah. Genius!

Researching my new book idea.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t waste your time writing about things you don’t care about. It takes a lot of stamina to write a book, so find the story that fires you up. That fire will keep you going, and it will spill onto the page, too – an added bonus.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

… will be outraged, then inspired to ask the hard questions about why sex trafficking occurs anywhere on the planet, but especially in a country as wealthy as ours.

How did you come to write this book?

I was home alone on a random Saturday night and stumbled upon the documentary “Very Young Girls”, which is about child sex trafficking in the U.S. I was devastated by what I saw. I had no idea this was happening in our country. I wept and wept and then became furious, so I decided to write a book about the issue. It was VERY important to me to be as accurate as possible, to tell the story from the viewpoint of a victim starting from when she was child. because that’s when the tragedy begins for these girls. I wanted to show how poverty, together with failing social safety nets like our public schools, juvenile care facilities, and criminal justice system, contributes to the trafficking of minors. Pimps are certainly villains, but there are deeper issues, too.

My friend Joe happened to be a detective with the NYPD at the time and was kind enough to help me with research. Through him, I was able to see the sex trade in Brooklyn. I was also able to speak with several women who were trafficked at kids, including a woman named Miracle who was “recruited” by a pimp when she was 12 years old right out of the group home where she was living at the time. She taught me so much of what I now know about traffickers, gangs, victims, and perhaps most importantly, our failure as a society to protect these kids. Miracle had absolutely no say in her fate. She was totally abandoned by society. The level of trauma she has endured in her life borders on unimaginable. I was blown away by the stories she shared with me, blown away by her pain, her heartache, her terror, her shame, the unbelievable choices she has had to make just to survive. Just to make it one more day.

Too often, our only exposure to prostitution is what we see on television, or glimpse briefly if we happen to drive through the wrong neighborhood at night. Or, if we do hear a story about sex trafficking, it has a happy ending: the girl is rescued, the pimp is arrested. Problem solved.

Well, most victims aren’t rescued. Most end up caught in cycle of addiction, incarceration, and untreated trauma that leads to all sorts of misery. Little Peach is an attempt to honor the fate of the majority of victims – victims like the women I met in Brooklyn, who are still out there, right now, barely holding on.

My hope – my belief – is that if people come to understand this issue through the eyes of the children it ruins, they will be inspired to act.

Girls like Little Peach are the daughters of America. We should fight for them in every way we can.

You can pre-order Little Peach here.

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5. 2015 Teen Tech Week Grant Winner - Lindsey Tomsu

In 2012 the Teen Advisory Board received a grant from the Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) of $1,900 to start a Teen

Media Club to give teens a chance to learn how to create digital content. Many of my teens do not have access to basic

technologies. The library’s computer lab does not have filters so you must be 17 to enter which means that our

community’s teens that do not have access to computers outside of school can’t even use the library’s resources. Many of

my teens do not have Internet at home, have outdated computers that seem to freeze all the time and not connect to the

library’s wireless, and many do not have smartphones.

 

The goal of Media Club was to use technology to enable teens to create such things as book trailers and the creation and

maintenance of a teen library website. The original NLC grant funds were used to purchase an HD Digital Recorder, a

laptop for the teens, and various props for their videos. While there still is a lot of interest in Media Club we realized that

just having a camera and a laptop was not enough. As we went about beginning to create, draft, and record various video

projects we learned that we really need certain other tech equipment to properly be able to run our club. We discovered

this after a large-scale project (La Vista’s Next Top Project Snazz Maszter—a “reality” show cross between America’s

Next Top Model and Project Runway) which we filmed during a 17-hour lock-in (filming all 17 hours!) and discovered

afterward that a lot of the film was unusable. Our library has 20-foot ceilings and the sound on most of our film was barely

audible because of echoes. We also realized free film editing software can’t do things like green screen effects. The teens

decided they wanted me to apply for a YALSA/Best Buy Teen Tech Week grant for funds to be used toward the purchase

of the additional equipment we need to get Media Club properly equipped and off the ground again.

We are using the funds as a launching point for the new and improved Media Club. One of their large-scale goals they are

planning to do for TTW is the creation of a sketch show a la Kids in the Hall. During TTW we plan to offer programs that

range from a workshop for the teens to brainstorm their sketches and work with groups, a time to rehearse, a time to learn

how to use the filming equipment, a time to do the actual filming, and a time to learn to use editing equipment, and then

time to edit the film together. The great thing is that this is not just a one-time only program where the funds will be used

and the equipment expended. As a re-launching point of Media Club, we have been given the ability to revive interest in

Media Club and actually get it off the ground this time and continue it (whether through more sketch show “episodes” in

the future or better book trailers and other digital programs) indefinitely.

 

Many of my teens have gotten their first experiences with film creation equipment at Media Club. Their teachers are now

requiring mandatory exercises that need access to smartphones, laptops, and film making equipment that the teens do

not have access to outside of the classroom. With our Media Club they not only get to learn how to build and maintain a

teen library website, but also how to use the HD camera, how to film digital content, and how to edit it into something

watchable. We also recently started a Teen Makerspace, and the teens are interested in the possibilities of incorporating

the digital content creation of 3-D printing with possible filming opportunities.

 

Media Club is using the YALSA Best Buy Teen Tech Week grant funds for the purchase of a high-quality green screen kit

(with lighting), a high-quality boom mic kit, professional video editing software, a tripod for our camera, and, if we have

any funds left over, additional props for their videos.

 

You can see some of the videos that the teens have created in the past on our YouTube Channel, TheTabblerTeens,

here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTabblerTeens/videos?view=0

 

I highly recommend our “Dinosaur Book Trailers” of which we have filmed six so far. Now that we have been awarded a

TTW grant we know there will be more videos for us in our future!

 

Lindsey Tomsu has been the Teen Coordinator of the La Vista Public Library since 2009. Lindsey and her dedicated Teen Advisory Board members have brought in more than $10,000 in grant funds over the years to make the La Vista teen program one of the most active in the area.  Their overall goal is world domination—in a nice way of course!

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6. quick parent safety lectures

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 8.35.09

The principals of all the local schools got together and did a parent safety evening at the school. I was one of the presenters. I think they were expecting a big turnout, but it was a small (but interested) crowd. I did two very short presentations

1. Ten apps in ten minutes. For parents who are not using mobile devices for social purposes outside of facebook, knowing what the various apps are and what they do can be useful. I just had a very basic slide deck and talked over some images of the apps. I had to learn to use Snapchat which was sort of hilarious.

2. “How the heck does this work” a short talk about things parents can control in their home internet environment and what they can’t. Obviously the standard line is that the best thing you can do is talk to your kids and this is more useful than just using technological tools on what is, ultimately, more of a social problem. That said, it’s good to understand what you can and can’t do with the technology.

Most importantly was, I think, people seeing and getting to know each other and getting to have conversations about what their systems were at home. One parent charged all the devices in his room at night, for example, so the kids couldn’t sleep with their phones. Another had a “no phones/devices before homework is done” policy. Another had a “two hours of screen time a night” rule. I was glad to be a “local expert” of a sort who could give people some perspective on what technology can look like form another direction. The newspaper wrote up a short article about the event. Feel free to use my slides for your own safety talks.

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7. Read Across America


Yesterday marked the 111th birthday of beloved children's book author, Dr. Seuss.

Each year on March 2nd the National Education Association sponsors Read Across America in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday.   Now in its 18th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.

Here in the Children's Room, we have an annual tradition of donning our Cat in the Hat hats and taking a photo to mark the day.  This year we have our new trainee, Miss Meghan, along with Miss Rosemarie and Miss Amy looking snazzy in their hats.


posted by Amy

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8. Day 6 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

Write. Share. Give.

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9. What Are the Best Literary Apps Available Today?

The question came to me and I admit I was a bit stumped at first.  A colleague was looking for recommendations of the best literary apps for kids.  Put another way, apps with a distinct tie-in to specific children’s books.  So I thought about it. I’ve toyed about with several apps for years.  I could make such a list.

However, before I present it to you, I would like to point out that literary apps are in significant decline.  When first they hit the scene they were prevalent because they were novel.  However, publishers were quick to notice that from an economic standpoint they don’t really make a lot of sense.  The amount of time and money you pour into an app is incongruous with how much one is allowed to then charge the consumer.  It can take years for apps to break even, and ours is not a society where such slow money is seen as desirable.  So while I don’t think apps will ever go away, literary apps will continue to be far and few between.  The only ones I’ve seen crop up in the last year or two are labors of love from creative personalities (Bill Joyce, Shaun Tan, etc.).

Also please note that this list is NOT particularly good at listing nonfiction tie-in apps.  There are, I know all too well, some fantastic ones out there.  However, aside from the Barefoot Book World Atlas, I haven’t had much contact with them.

And now, the hits!

Animalia by Graeme Base – Allows the reader the chance to turn a simple reading of the book into a game.

The Barefoot Books World Atlas by Nick Crane – Absolutely jaw-dropping.  A must-have for any child over the age of four.  Allows the viewer to zero in on different parts of the globe and learn learn learn.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App by Mo Willems – I’m sort of cheating by putting this here since technically it’s based on a children’s book character rather than a specific title, but when it’s the pigeon, honestly who cares?

Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss – Pretty basic, but I like a lot of what it does.  Reads the story straight through but allows the reader to hear individual words defined.  Plus I like how it handles the many mumbling mice in the moonlight. Mighty nice!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce – The rare case where there was first an app, then a short film, and finally a book.  I don’t know how well this one holds up in terms of rereading, but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a film in a book app form.

Freight Train by Donald Crews – This may be the earliest book related app out there.  It used public domain music and was originally designed for phones. When the iPad was introduced it had to undergo a change, and remains somewhat pixelated as a result.  That said, it’s still a beautiful piece.

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton – Boynton books make for difficult book-to-app transitions since there’s not much too them to begin with.  This one relies heavily on a good narrator and small interactive options.  I don’t know that a kid would turn to it over and over, but it’s not a bad app for the little bitty guys.

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills – A great book to begin with, the app reads the book straight, but also contains interactive elements that don’t distract from the storyline.  A difficult balance to strike.

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone – Remarkably good. Truth be told, Sesame Street has almost never been good at books.  Stone’s classic is the sole exception, and the app they made for it is stellar.  Though Grover is not voiced by Frank Oz, you’d never be able to tell.  The imitation is dead on.  All the interactive elements work beautifully.  Kids can read this over and over and never get bored.

The Numberlys by William Joyce – Joyce remains the king of the app-turned-book.  Again, this was an app first, a book second.  I doubt anyone minds.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt – When I first saw Random House premiere this app they acknowledged openly that a Pat the Bunny app is an inherently ridiculous concept.  That said, it’s a very good one for the younger ages.

Press Here by Herve Tullet – Also a bit of a cheat since at no point does the book appear. Then again, the book itself was a sort of anti-app, so what you’ll find here makes quite a bit of sense in retrospect.

The Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan – Tan bears a lot of similarities to Bill Joyce in terms of his love of apps, cinema, and books (not necessarily in that order).  He employed some truly lovely musicians when he worked on this one.

The Story of the Three Little Pigs by L. Leslie Brooke – Also a book meant to look like a pop-up but in this case the reader is allowed to see how the inner gears of such a pop-up might work.  It’s actually really quite cool to watch.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – You’ll actually want the one called PopOut! Peter.  There is also a similar Benjamin Bunny app that makes for a good follow-up.  It’s just one of the most beautiful I’ve ever encountered.  It makes a great deal of effort to resemble an interactive book down to the silken ribbon there to hold your place.  A masterpiece.

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra – The designers did a very clever thing here when they found a way to allow the reader to tilt the screen so that you can see around and behind the characters and set pieces.

See a gaping hole in the list?  Tell me about it!

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10. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 4 of 31

It's Day Four Classroom Slicers!

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11. Tag Galaxy Weather Studies

At this time of year, weather is the perfect multidisciplinary study. Weather is on everyone’s minds, whether you’re facing winter storms or signs of spring. There are perfect literature options like mythology about weather gods or parables and poems about the wind, plenty of science topics connect with weather and each one brings in math, and weather phenomena have inspired music, too.

Here’s a lesson that makes a great introduction to any unit on weather.

Visit Tag Galaxy to begin. You’ll have a place to type in your first word: weather.

tag-galaxy1

Soon you’ll see a swirling collection of planets labeled with related words.

tag-galaxy4

Click on the “sun” to see images from FlickR brought together to create an amazing graphic.

tag-galaxy5 tag-galaxy6

You can bring in more images, and you can also explore each of the “planets” in this way, discovering more words and more images. You can click on any picture to see it more closely — here’s a beautiful image from “rain”:

tag-galaxy7

Tag Galaxy can be mesmerizing, and it rewards exploration. Show it first on your class projector and let everyone ooh and ahh for a while. Then let students explore the tool on their own computers.

Here are some ideas of what to do next:

  • Have students list the words they find that relate to weather. Let students write individual words on cards or cut outs and hang them from the ceiling or post them on a bulletin board.
  • Ask students to choose a word and then an image to use as a writing prompt. There are thousands of choices, so everyone should be able to find something inspiring.
  • Making a globe from photos in real life would be a big job, but you can make a smaller version easily. Have students print out, draw, and/or cut out pictures of weather. Use a round template to make circles from the pictures, and then a triangular template to fold in the edges. Connect the edges to form a sphere, as shown for the “Disco Ball” ornament at this paper craft page.

At this point, your class should be excited about weather and ready for some learning!

The post Tag Galaxy Weather Studies appeared first on FreshPlans.

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12. Children’s Literature Connections in San Francisco

San Francisco is thrilled to host the ALA Annual Conference again this June. The Bay Area has a rich literary tradition and children’s books definitely are a part of it. Years ago, I wrote an article for School Library Journal (Déjà Views: A Tour of San Francisco Settings You’ll Recall from Children’s Books, SLJ, June 1997) that highlighted the city’s ties to Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kate Douglas Wiggin, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, Kathryn Forbes, Berta Hader, Jade Snow Wong, Virginia Lee Burton, Eleanor Cameron and Laurence Yep. Several of the books mentioned in it are now in limited supply, if not out of print. This is not surprising: Wilder’s letters to her husband Almanzo, chronicling her journey to the city to visit their daughter, popular journalist Lane, and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, were written 100 years ago (West from Home). Wiggin’s work to establish the first free kindergarten in San Francisco (funding it with proceeds from the sale of The Bird’s Christmas Carol) took place almost 30 years before that. Maybelle’s uphill battle to save her species—can anyone conceive of a San Francisco without its cable cars?—was based on the successful Citizens’ Committee to Save the Cable Cars, almost 70 years ago (Maybelle the Cable Car, by Virginia Lee Burton).

But the literary spirit lives on, and thrives. A list of current local children’s and teen authors and illustrators, or books set here, would be a long one.

Indulge me, then, as I mention just a few, and the ALSC Preconference: Distinguished and Diverse: Celebrate the 2015 ALSC Honor Books, on Friday, June 26, 2015, 11:30 AM – 4:00 PM, as there are several Honor Books (and their authors and illustrators) with Bay Area connections:

  • Yuyi Morales (Caldecott Honor Viva Frida) lives part time in San Francisco, and learned to make puppets from books borrowed from the Western Addition Branch Library.
  • Jon Klassen’s partner-in-imagination, Mac Barnett (Caldecott Honor Sam & Dave Dig a Hole) is from Oakland, and as teen, he was Peter Pan at Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland.
  • Belpré Illustrator Honor Little Roja Riding Hood, Susan Guevara, received her BFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Author Susan Middleton Elya lives in the Bay Area.
  • All California children benefitted from Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Belpré Illustrator Honor, Sibert Honor), written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.
  • Several of the illustrious people profiled in Portraits of Hispanic America Heroes (Belpré Author Honor, by Juan Felipe Herrera) are well-known to the Bay Area, including Joan Baez and Rita Moreno.
  • We are so proud of talented local illustrator Christian Robinson, who created the Sibert Honor book Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker with author Patricia Hruby Powell.
  • And of course, those top-of-the-food chain Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands (Sibert Honor by Katherine Roy) are from our neighborhood (on a clear day, I can see the Farallon Islands from the park at the end of my street).

The Gold Rush may have ended almost two centuries ago, but San Francisco continues to offer literary gold—and several have shiny silver medals this year. Please join us in honoring them, and all other ALSC book honor winners, at the ALSC Preconference. Welcome back to the Bay Area, ALA!

**************************************************************

Today’s blog post was written Carla Kozak, the Children’s and Teen Collection Development Specialist at the San Francisco Public Library, for the Local Arrangements Committee.

 

The post Children’s Literature Connections in San Francisco appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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13. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 6 of 31

It's Day 6, Classroom Slicers!

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14. Olive Marshmallow by Katie Saunders

Olive Marshmallow is the newest book from Katie Saunders, and part of the debut line of books from a brand new publisher,  little bee books. It may seem like there are shelves full of new baby, big sibling picture books, but during my years as a bookseller, books of this genre that I wanted to read to my own growing family or recommend to customers were few and far between. I would definitely

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15. Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month Year 5!

It's March again, and that means that Lisa Taylor of Shelf-employed and I are once again co-curating Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month, a celebration of books for young people which celebrate notable women. Despite the progress that has been made, schools still spend comparatively little time on women throughout history; fortunately many books have been published for young people of all ages on a range of fascinating figures which can be used by teachers to supplement the curriculum or by parents at home. I hope you will check out this year's blog contributors, who include everyone from African-American ballerina Misty Copeland to award-winning nonfiction writer Sue Macy. You can "follow" the blog, subscribe by e-mail, and also follow the posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, if you prefer!  A complete list of this year's contributors is available on the blog as well.

If you're in the Los Angeles area, I believe you can still order tickets for the 35th anniversary celebration of the National Women's History Project, which will take place on Saturday, March 28 at the Autry Museum and offers the chance to meet the 2015 honorees. It's a terrific opportunity to celebrate women's history with others.

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16. Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love With Your Baby, selected by Lee Bennet Hopkins and illustrated by Alyssa Nassner

Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love With Your Baby is absolutely brilliant! There are never enough good collections of poetry for children, let alone babies and toddlers, and poetry is such a vital part of learning to talk, read and love words. It makes perfect sense that Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love With Your Baby is brought to us by the good people at abramsappleseed, a

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17. Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Rachel Joyce. 2012. Random House. 320 pages. [Source: Library]

The novel opens with Harold Fry receiving a letter in the mail from a former friend, Queenie Hennessy; it is a goodbye letter. Though they haven't seen each other in decades, she wanted to tell him that she was dying of cancer. He's shocked, to put it mildly. Though in all honesty he doesn't think of her all that often, now that her letter is in his hands, he is remembering the woman he once worked with and what she once did for him. He writes a reply and prepares to mail it, but, on his way to the mailbox, it doesn't seem enough, not nearly enough. His reply is so short and inadequate. So after a brief conversation with a stranger about cancer, he decides to have a little faith and embark on a pilgrimage. He will walk to see Queenie in her hospice home. In his mind, logical or not, he's connected the two: walking and healing. He'll do the walking, but will it work?

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a character-driven, journey-focused read. From start to finish, readers are given a unique opportunity to walk with Harold Fry, to really get inside his head and understand him inside and out. It's a bit of a mystery as well. Since readers learn things about Harold chapter by chapter by chapter. The book is very much about Harold making sense of Harold: that is Harold coming to know himself better, of making peace if you will with the past and present.

I liked the book very much for the chance to get to know Harold and even his wife. (At first, his wife thinks he's CRAZY. Crazy for thinking up the idea, crazier still for acting on it. It just does not make any sense at all to her. WHY WALK OVER 500 MILES TO SEE A FORMER COWORKER YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IN TWO DECADES?!

It was a very pleasant read. Harold meets people every single day of his walk, and the book is a book of conversations.

It is set in England.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. Day 4 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

It’s the fourth day of our month-long writing challenge. How’s it going?

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19. The Beekle Experience

beekleAs a member of the 2015 Caldecott committee, making “the call” to Dan Santat on the morning of February 2 was such a thrill. The good folks at ALA make it possible for you to experience it HERE. Once the announcements of the Caldecott awards were made public, the Internet buzzed. One of the first things I saw online after the announcements was this short video from Dan Santat. It melted my heart. I was running on adrenaline, very little sleep, and home-made ginger cookies at this point, and that little clip just really got me. Dan Santat’s first Tweet of that day was “I’m so bummed the Patriots won the #SuperBowl last night. My whole day is ruined.” I immediately thought, “The guy is funny!” You can follow him on Twitter @dsantat. When I got back to my hotel room, I saw this amazing craft from This Picture Book Life blog. It inspired me to create my own Snow Beekle once I got back home.

When I was home I really dug in to read the Caldecott news. There are several interviews that will give you more about Dan Santat, like this one from Publisher’s Weekly, this one from NPR, this one from Dan’s local station in Pasadena, and this one on the 7 Impossible Things blog. And there’s this fun podcast from Picturebooking.

So, there’s a lot of Beekle love out there, and it is well-deserved. This year’s Caldecott medal book is one that you can share at preschool storytime. There’s already a craft you can make (with preschoolers I’d use frosting scribblers instead of Sharpie marker to make the face because you know they are going to want to eat it). You can use The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend with older groups, too. It is a seemingly simple book, but so much is going on. Embedded in this story is the archetypal Hero’s Journey: Beekle leaves home on a quest, heeding his call to adventure. He leaves his normal world and ventures out into the unknown. He then experiences trials in that world: he is looking for something, and searches valiantly. Once Beekle finds what he is looking for, and has bonded with his new friend, he can return, and do the unimaginable. For more on the Hero’s Journey, and how Beekle relates, try this link.

Photo by Angela J. Reynolds

Photo by Angela J. Reynolds

Look closely at that art! Each section of the journey is denoted by color and slight style changes, and fits the pacing just right. Look for the color yellow to tell you that change or something significant has occurred. Look at the emotion on our hero’s face when he meets his friend. Explore those end pages. Take that dust jacket off and revel in the lovely board cover underneath. Find the joy in this book that so many young children do. And don’t forget to look for the Beekle Bum – that image gets noticed every time I share this book in storytime.
Have fun with this book, and if you have more ideas on how to use it in storytime or in the classroom, share in the comments!

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20. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 5 of 31

Thinking about how to structure your Slice of Life writing? This post may help. And welcome to Day Five!

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21. Day 5 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

It is day five of our 31-day writing challenge. Are you having fun yet? What feels easy? What feels challenging? Please share your thoughts when you leave the link to your slice of life story.

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22. The Joys of Reading through Windows

We all know that when it comes to stories, children need both mirrors and windows to understand their place in the wide world.

This never ending winter has given my life a different pace. Curtailed from Saturdays scheduled with errands and voice lessons, sewing lessons and play dates, my children and I have been reading aloud. They are both independent readers and have been for some time. My son is 16 and my daughter turns 11 this month but the joys of reading aloud are even richer than when they were little. Our options are more varied and their views of the world are wider. As librarians we have always known and advocated for reading aloud to older children but at least for me, making the time has been a challenge.

My pledge is that after the snow melts, I will still suggest and make space for Saturday morning readings that start our day with ideas, passion and a look into other worlds. This ability to glimpse into other worlds and gain greater empathy for others is the kernel of our concern and commitment to diversity in all its forms in our profession. While this is a personalized call to action and one I tend to avoid, having time to share books with my children in this amazing and profound way, reading aloud, makes me grateful for our public library and all its offerings. I really have everything I need in our literary backyard.

For our families, El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), celebrates the stories in our communities. Our libraries are the perfect place of acceptance, inclusion and harmony. While we celebrate Día on one special day, April 30th, its name also stands for Diversity in Action and through this work, we reaffirm our daily commitment to ensure that all families have access to diverse books, languages and cultures. Without access to stories from other cultures, places and passions, we are a lesser world.

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23. Short Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue


The Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterScholastic, 2014. Review copy from publisher. Sequel to The Raven Boys (Book 1) and The Dream Thieves (Book 2).

This continues the story of the search in Virginia for a missing Welsh king. The searchers are prep school students Richard Gansey III (the driving force behind the search), his friends Adam Parrish, Ronan Lynch, and Noah Czerny, and local girl Blue Sargent.

By the events of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I'm not going to lie: it's complicated. There are a mess of characters, plus the search, plus the issues that the characters are dealing with in the present. Gansey is driven by his search; Ronan discovered dangerous family secrets, including his own ability to pull things out of dreams into the real world; Adam is a scholarship student with the drive for more and a serious, well earned chip on his shoulder. Noah has his own issues.

And Blue: Blue is from a family of psychics, without any real power herself, and with a curse upon her: her kiss will kill her true love. And since she's falling hard for Gansey, and since one of her aunts foresaw Gansey's death, it's, well, messy. Like life. Now take life and add in magic and history, myth and legend.

Readers know that I like when teen books have interesting adult characters: well, this has them and then some. The enigmatic Mr. Gray -- I mean, how often is a hired killer so sympathetic and likable? (And yes, I keep picturing him as Norman Reedus). Blue's mother has disappeared, but this allows other adults to move center. And Mr. Gray's boss also enters into the picture. It's not just magic and myth that is a danger.

The only frustration with Blue Lily, Lily Blue is there is still one more book in the series. So while the adventure moves forward, and questions are answered, there's still so much more to find out


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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24. A Slice of Poetry

Slice up a quick write and a poem may emerge!

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25. Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Hyperion, 2014

My students EAT UP Laurie Faria Stolarz books!  SO glad she wrote a new one!  Dark, creepy, mysterious, on-the-edge of your seat reading!



If you can't access Youtube, try this link:

Schooltube:
http://www.schooltube.com/video/3617582e0df348f09b0a/Welcome%20to%20the%20Dark%20House

Google Drive: 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-wHb5Nsjhy0d1NfdUZpZHplMTA&authuser=0

Enjoy!!  I know I did!!

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