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Results 26 - 50 of 72,965
26. Come Say "Hi!" at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!

If you're in Los Angeles on Saturday the 18th, I hope you'll come say "hi" to me at the LA Times Festival of Books.

I'll be signing copies of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. at the SCBWI booth (that's booth 834) from 12-2. I'll have a few copies available for sale, cash only, or you can bring your own copy OR you can just stop by and say hi because, well, because "hi!!!"

As if that's not enough, you can come see me earlier on Saturday at the Darby Pop booth (booth 066) where I'll also be signing, but in this case, I'll be signing copies of Indestructible... a comic book whose main character happens to be named Greg Pincus. Honest! The creator of the book and some of the amazing artists will be there, too (all weekend, actually), so please check 'em out.

The LATFOB, as it's lovingly known, is a great place to spend some time. There are soooo many amazing children's literature folk will be there that I know I'll be spending all afternoon chatting (and buying, too). I hope to see you there!

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27. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Develop Your Evaluation Skills

In the Fall 2014 YALSA journal (vol 13, number 1), I published an article about creating outcome measurement tools collaboratively with staff and participants for a teen program (Measuring Outcomes for Teen Technology Program, p. 25). The program I discussed is the Teen Tech Squad, tech workshops for teens led by teens at Hennepin County Library.

When I began working with the teen librarians to identify outcomes and measurement tools, an important step was relying on the expertise of the teen librarians. I did not assume that I knew what teens were doing in the workshops or what skills they were gaining. I relied on the expertise of the teen librarians to identify these things. I worked with them to make sure that they understood what outcomes are and we collaboratively created the outcomes and survey questions. We also took the time to get teens opinions on the questions we asked so we knew our questions would be understandable and effective. I empowered staff to take the lead on implementing the evaluation and continue to offer my assistance as they discover what is working and what isn’t.

This approach to evaluation is called “developmental evaluation,” a concept developed by program evaluation consultant Michael Quinn Patton. Developmental evaluation differs from traditional evaluation in many ways. For example, one way is the role of the evaluator. Traditional evaluation positions the evaluator as an outsider from the program they are evaluating while developmental evaluation positions evaluation as a job duty of the program deliverers. Developmental evaluation is most suited to programs that are innovative and adaptable; that is, not static.

Why this is important is that I see a need for libraries to have an in-house evaluation expert. It may seem easier (although more expensive) to hire an outside firm to evaluate. What library staff miss out when they do this is learning how to evaluate on their own. Knowing how to evaluate means that you can work evaluation into the biggest and smallest projects at your library. It can help you design projects intentionally, evaluate them, and decide what should continue, what should change and what can come to an end.

YALSA’s tenth teen programming guideline directs library staff to, “Engage in youth-driven, evidence-based evaluation and outcome measurement.” Now that we have measurement tools in place and used teen feedback to develop the tools, our teen workers are charged with using them and evaluating their results to improve workshops. Our library staff also use measurement tools to evaluate our teen workers’ experiences and improve the project.

I’m very lucky to be sharing my experience in developing the teen tech evaluation tools at this year’s Libraries Leaders Summit at the 2015 Computers in Libraries conference in Washington, D.C.  (April 27-29). If you’ll be there, I’d love to talk to you about evaluations. If you can’t make it, there are many resources you and your colleagues can access to learn more about creating evaluations. The Research and Institute for Public Libraries summer conference is focusing on outcomes and how to measure library impact. There are also a few books I’ve listed below. Finally, reach out to nearby universities to find out if they offer trainings for measuring outcomes -- I caught the evaluation bug after attending a one-day training at the nearby University of St. Thomas. It’s great to be able to talk to expert evaluators about your library’s work and get their feedback. Remember YALSA’s seventh teen programming guideline, “Participate in targeted and ongoing training to build skills and knowledge relating to programming.” You may intuitively know what works and doesn’t work about your teen programs. It’s also important to evaluate in a more formal manner to get new insights.

 

Dynamic Youth Services through Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation, by E Dresang, M. Gross, L Edmonds, Holt. ALA Editions, 2006.

Evaluating Teen Services and Programs, by S. Flowers. ALA Editions, 2012.

Getting Started with Evaluation, by P. Hernon, R. Dugan and J. Matthews. ALA Editions, 2014.

Johannah Genett is the resource services division manager for Hennepin County Library. She can be reached at jrgenett@hclib.org.

 

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28. Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky (2014)

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. Sandra Dallas. 2014. Sleeping Bear Press. 216 pages. [Source: Library]

Tomi Itano is the heroine of Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. Her family is relocated during the war, the spring after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her father was taken away--imprisoned--before the family was relocated. For Tomi who has always loved, loved, loved being American, this comes as a shock and disappointment. How could anyone not see how patriotic her family is? She adjusts as the whole family is forced to adjust. (The family, I believe, is relocated twice.) Readers meet Tomi, her older brother, her younger brother, and her mother. Readers get a glimpse of what life might have been like day-to-day for these families. The book is about how they all are effected personally and as a family. (It does change the family dynamics in many ways, especially once the father joins them again. For example, he comes home angry and bitter and stubborn. He does not like the fact that the experience has changed his wife, how she works now, how she teaches quilting, how she has a life outside the home.) I liked the book well enough. Part of me wishes, however, that the focus had been on the older brother Roy, or, equally on the older brother. I liked that he had a band. He ended up joining the army, and, his story would have been worth reading too, in my opinion.

Is Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky my *favorite* book on the subject of the Japanese internment (relocation) camps? Probably not. I really love, love, love, Kathryn Fitzmaurice's A Diamond in the Desert. But even though I wouldn't rate it "a" favorite or "the" favorite, doesn't mean it's not worth reading. While both books could appeal to the same reader, that wouldn't always be the case. For example, Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky features quilts.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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29. Celebrating All Kinds of Kids and Friends


This is the week for the annual conference of the Texas Library Association and today I'm leading the 11th annual Poetry Round Up-- always a popular session. In honor of our 11th anniversary, I'm hosting 11 poets too: Jorge Argueta, Brian Rock, Leslie Bulion, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Kenn Nesbitt, Micol Ostow, K.A. Holt, Nancy Bo Flood, Janet Wong, and illustrator Don Tate reading from his new book, Poet. (Lee Wardlaw was scheduled to come, but has had to postpone till next time.) Of course, I'll bring a full report (and maybe videoclips) later on this blog. Meanwhile, here's another poem-plus-video to enjoy!

Renee M. LaTulippe provides today's marvelous poem, "Friends," in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (held every December 3). Joni H. has organized this video and features two young readers who really capture the spirit of the poem including their own drawings and a bit of discussion in response to the poem.
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For more information about International Day of Persons with Disabilities sponsored by the United Nations, click HERE.  

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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30. App of the Week: Adobe Slate

Title: Adobe Slate
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS 8 or later

adobe slate logoAdobe Slate is the latest in Adobe's collection of free apps for iPads. (Adobe Voice was reviewed here in May of 2014.) With Slate it's possible to create professional looking visual documents - stories, how-tos, research projects, and more. Creative Commons photos are available within the app or users can make use of photos that taken themselves. The 10 minute screencast below provides an overview of what Adobe Slate is all about and how it works.


This app has a lot of uses for schools and libraries. Teens can create magazines using their own photos. The magazines can be totally visual or include text along with the images. As shown in the screencast examples there are opportunities for using the app as a way to present research and/or creative writing. Adobe Slate also provides the chance to talk about how stories are told with images and text combined and how selection of images can have an impact on the storytelling. With the ability to add and change copyright information, you can use that app feature to talk with teens about intellectual property and ownership.

Stories created with Adobe Slate can be embedded on web pages once it is uploaded to the Adobe site.

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31. Friends of the Library Essay Contest


The deadline is fast approaching for the Friends of the Library’s Essay Contest! The contest is open to children in Grades 2-5 and the theme is My Most Unforgettable Hero/Heroine and Why (in 100 words or less). The winning essays will be read and prizes will be awarded at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Library on June 1stat 7 PM.  The deadline is May 3rd, so get out your
pen or pencil (or computer!) and write about your favorite hero/heroine; we would love to read all about them.

                                      

Posted by Sue Ann

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32. MARCH 2015 ISSUE OF JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON LIBRARIES & YOUNG ADULTS

The March 2015 issue of Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults features two papers relating to YALSA’s The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report.

In “The Impact of Assigned Reading on Reading Pleasure in Young Adults,” Stacy Creel, Assistant Professor in the School of Library & Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, discusses a survey of the reading habits and preferences of 833 U.S. teens aged 12 to 18. Her research showed that students who self-selected reading materials for school-assigned reading projects enjoyed the reading more than those who read assigned titles, and that girls tended to enjoy reading for school more than boys. This research adds to a growing body of research supporting the importance of allowing students to choose their reading materials to develop a life-long love of reading.

In “Connected Learning, Librarians, and Connecting Youth Interest,” Crystle Martin, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Digital Media and Learning Hub of the University of California at Irvine, presents an in-depth look at the educational benefits of connected learning. Connected learning harnesses the connective power of social media and teens’ excitement about their personal interests and hobbies to facilitate deep, teen-driven exploration and experimentation. It also combines peer learning and creative production, such as blog or digital artwork creation. Dr. Martin describes the connected learning framework in detail and explains how YA librarians can take advantage of its potential learning benefits.

Together these two papers show the importance of making teens’ interests core to library services. This means turning the traditional view of librarians-as-experts on its head to make teens the experts of their own interests and information needs. It means encouraging teens to make collection development and programming decisions, and viewing social media and other youth-driven information environments as prime places for providing library services. Above all, these papers argue for youth-centered, youth-driven library services as the future of YA librarianship.

Denise Agosto, Editor

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33. Edwards Award: Terms and Committee Makeup

And a little more about the Edwards Award, from the YALSA website. While this may be the boring stuff, it's still important to know how this all works. For example, that it's virtual and there are five members; and the other YALSA policies that apply.




Terms

The award is given annually to an author whose book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young adults as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives. The book or books should enable them to understand themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationship with others and with society. The book or books must be in print at the time of the nomination.

Members who have served two consecutive years as a member and/or administrative assistant may not be appointed to the same committee for three years from the conclusion of their last term. This guideline will not apply to the Chair.  In extreme circumstances, and at the President’s discretion, an exception may be made if a committee member resigns suddenly.  The President, after discussion with the Committee Chair, may determine that the best course of action is to fill the vacancy with an experienced committee member, and appoint a member in good standing who successfully served on the committee in question during the previous three years.

Committee Makeup

How many members, length of term, etc.

Edwards is a virtual committee.  Two committee members are appointed by YALSA's President-Elect and three are elected to serve a 18 month term. There are 5 voting committee members, including the chair. Each term begins Feb. 1st and ends the following June 30th. If someone resigns, the current President of YALSA may appoint a new person to finish out that particular term.

Responsibilities of regular committee positions

Additional information about committee member responsibilities is available from YALSA's Handbook.  All committee members must comply with YALSA's Policies, as presented in the online Handbook, including: Social Media Policy, Ethical Behavior Policy for Volunteers and the Award Committees Conflict of Interest Policy.


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

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34. Thoughts for a Thursday

I'm blogging at the ALSC blog today with a post on "Putting it all together" - books, technology, creative space, diversity, and kids.  Please hop over and check it out. 

In other news, if you haven't checked out the new lineup yet, SYNC will  be returning on May 7th.  As they do every summer, they will offer free downloads of classic books paired with current books with a similar theme.  Each week features a different pairing. Week #1 begins with Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, paired with Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

And finally, here's a link to an audio book review that I wrote for AudioFile Magazine.  I don't think I ever posted it here. The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio, read by Mike Chamberlain.  Brilliance Audio, 2014. 

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35. Announcing the Prize Winners!

Here is the list of prize winners from our 8th Annual SOLSC!

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36. Into the Dark Character Profiles

I love knowing how author's see their characters, so these character profiles for Haden and Daphne from Bree Despain's Into the Dark Series are so much fun! I especially love reading who the inspiration was for each character. 


Character Profile: Daphne Raines

Name: Daphne Raines (a.k.a. The Cypher)

Hair color: Golden blonde

Eye color: blue

Height: Just little over 6 feet

Build: Tall and curvy--often described as looking like an amazon.

Favorite food: BBQ bacon cheese burger with avocado and a single onion ring.

Favorite drink: Rootbeer!

Special skills: singing, guitar, floral design, animal charming, can hear special tones and music put off by all living/organic things. Uses these tones and sounds to read people and situations. (May be able to do even more with this ability--like control the elements.)

Weaknesses: Abandonment issues from being raised without her father, has difficulty letting people in, overly focused on her goals, can't drive.  

Life goal: Become a world famous musician on her own merit--not because her father is athe Joe Vince "the God of Rock."  

Character inspirations: Taylor Swift meets Dean Winchester from Supernatural Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

Character Profile: Haden Lord

Name: Haden Lord (a.k.a. Lord Haden, Prince of the Underrealm)

Hair color: Dark brown hair in daylight. Appears midnight black in the dark.

Eyes: Jade green with amber fire rings around his pupils. Sometimes, especially when vexed or otherwise emotional, it looks like he has actual flames dancing in his eyes.

Height: about 6'4"

Build: Big and muscular like a Spartan warrior.

Favorite food: Braised hydra in plum sauce and steamed griffin's milk  . . . or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Favorite drink: Pomegranate nectar--definitely not soda like Daphne, it burns!

Special skills: tracking, hunting, sword fighting, hand-to-hand combat, languages, stealth--to the 
point of being almost invisible in the dark, playing the guitar and singing (he just doesn't know it yet!)

Weaknesses: Impulsive, sometimes selfish, occasionally compassionate of the less fortunate, sentimental about his deceased mother, too human.

Life Goal: To have his honor restored and to reclaim his standing as heir to the throne of the Underrealm. (Or so he thinks.)

Character inspirations: Prince Zuko fromAvatar: The Last Airbender, Sam Winchester from Supernatural, Castiel from Supernatural, Thor and a little bit of Loki.  


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37. Review of the Day: Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon

Beastly Verse
By Joohee Yoon
Enchanted Lion Books
$18.95
ISBN: 978-1-59270-166-7
Ages 3 and up
On shelves now

Poetry. What’s the point? I say this as a woman who simultaneously gets poetry and doesn’t get it. I get that it’s important, of course. I only need to watch my three-year-old daughter come up with an ever increasing and creative series of bouncy rhymes to understand their use. But what I don’t get is Poetry with a capital “P”. I have come to accept this as a failing on my own part. And to be fair, there are works of poetry that I like. They just all seem to be for the milk teeth set. With that in mind I was particularly pleased to see Beastly Verse, illustrated by Joohee Yoon. Full of fabulous classic poems and art that manages to combined a distinctive color palette with eye-popping art, Yoon’s creates a world that takes the madcap energy of Dr. Seuss and combines it with the classic printmaking techniques of a fine artist. The end result keeps child readers on the edge of their seats with adults peering over their shoulders, hungry for more.

As I mentioned, the resident three-year-old is much enamored of poetry. This is good because it makes her an apt test subject for my own curiosity. I should mention that my goal in life is to NOT become the blogger who uses her children to determine the value of one book or another. That said, the temptation to plumb their little minds can sometimes prove irresistible. Now Beastly Verse is not specifically aimed at the preschooler set. With poems like William Blake’s “The Tiger” and “Humming-Bird” by D.H. Lawrence, the verse can at times exceed a young child’s grasp. That said, none of the poems collected here are very long, and the art is so entrancing that the normal fidgets just tend to fade away as you turn the pages. My daughter did find that some of the more frightening images, say of the carnivorous hummingbird or the spangled pandemonium, were enough to put her off. Fortunately, each scary image is hidden beneath a clever gatefold. If the reader does not want to see the face of a tiger tiger burning bright, they needn’t open the fold at all. Not only is it a beautiful technique, it makes the book appropriate for all ages. Clever.

One might not associate Yoon’s particular brand of yellows reds, oranges, greens, and blues with evocative prints. Yet time and again I was struck by the entrancing beauty of the pages. Yoon’s traditional printmaking techniques can bring to life the hot steam that rises even in the coolest shade of a tiger’s jungle. Another page and Lewis Carroll’s “The Crocodile” lingers below the surface of the water, his innards heaving with “little fishes”. Yoon saves the best for last, though, with a poem I’d not come across before. “Dream Song” by Walter de la Mare is set in the gleam of “Sunlight, moonlight / Twilight, starlight” when the sun is just a sliver of a white hot crescent on the horizon. All the forest is lit by the orange and red rays, and out of a tree pokes the head of a single owl. The hypnotic verses speaking of “wild waste places far away” mix with the image, conjuring up the moment moviemakers call “magic hour”.

Mind you, there is always a nightmarish mirror image to each seemingly sweet picture. The eyeless caterpillar all maw and teeth is turned, on the next page, into a beautiful but equally unnerving butterfly. Only Yoon, as far as I’m concerned, could have brought us the horrific implications of “The Humming-Bird” and its existence “Before anything had a soul.” Even the last seemingly innocuous image of Captain Jonathan cooking himself an egg takes on a dire cast when you realize it’s that of a pelican (of the poem “The Pelican” by Robert Desnos) he’s about to devour.

This is by no means the first collection of animal poetry to grace our shelves. It was only two or three years ago that J. Patrick Lewis helped to collect the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry. Many of the poems found in this book can be found in that one as well. However, while that book seemed to be going for sheer girth, Yoon’s selections here are carefully positioned. I was interested in the layout in particular. You begin with the aforementioned Carroll poem (which seems appropriate since a manic smiling cat graces the title page) and then transition into a nursery rhyme, a bit of typical Ogden Nash flippery (only three lines long), and then Blake’s best-known poem. Variety of length keeps the poems eclectic and interesting to read. They keep you guessing as well. You never quite know what kind of poem will come next.

Having read the deliciously multicultural Over the Hills and Far Away, collected by Elizabeth Hammill, it is difficult to pick up a collected work of poetry without hankering for a similar experience. Aside from artist Joohee Yoon’s own name and the fact that Robert Desnos was Jewish, there is very little in this collection that isn’t white and American/European. The reasons for this may have something to do with permissions. Every poem in this book, with the exception of a few, is in the public domain. None were commissioned for the book specifically. Mind you, it would have been possible for the book to follow Hammill’s lead and locate international public domain animal poems of one sort or another written specifically for children. It is therefore up to the reading public to ascertain if the book stands stronger as a collection of similar types of poetry or if it would have benefited from a bit of variety here and there.

In the end, it’s a beautiful piece. Children’s rooms are no strangers to beautiful art in their poetry collections, but Yoon’s distinctive style is hard to compare to anyone. The only poet/illustrator with the same energy that comes to mind (and that writes for kids) would have to be Calef Brown. And as debuts go, this is a stunner. A truly inventive and original collection that deepens with every additional read. Kids like it. Adults like it. It could have benefited from some diversity, absolutely. Overall, however, there are few things like it on our shelves. An inspiration.

On shelves now.

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Other Blog Reviews: A Year of Reading

Professional Reviews:

Misc: Years ago, it was Jules at Seven Impossible Things who alerted the children’s book world to Ms. Yoon’s presence.  Here is the post.

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38. Novels in Verse: my top ten + two more to read (ages 9-12)

Novels in verse have particular power speaking to kids. Some really like the way that there are fewer words on the page. It can make reading them feel less overwhelming. Others like how much they can "read between the lines", letting their imaginations fill in the gaps. Others love the way these poets play with language.

Today, I'd like to share my personal top ten favorites (in alphabetical order). I adore sharing these with students. But know that there are many others that my kids love. At the end, I'll share two books on my "to be read" (TBR) pile.

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
I have loved talking with my students about this book, how they can relate to Jackie's experiences, how they can see themselves in the book, how they can feel some of her own journey even if their experiences are different. Winner of the 2015 Coretta Scott King Award, the 2014 National Book Award, and the 2015 Newbery Honor.
The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander
You can read this incredible novel as a basketball story, as a family drama, or as a novel written with a modern ear using rhythms and rhymes infused with music and motion. It speaks to kids in all sorts of different ways. Winner of the 2015 Newbery Award, and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor.
Heartbeat, by Sharon Creech
In flowing free verse, Annie describes her love of running, the changes in her best friend Max, the birth of her baby brother and her grandfather's growing confusion and dementia. Annie's world feels as if it's unraveling with all this change. As she runs for the pure pleasure of running, thoughts and questions race through her mind.
Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech
Oh, how I love this book. We start with Jack, who's dreading writing his own poems, forced to keep a poetry journal for his teacher. But as we get to know Jack and as he gets to know different poems, we start to see a fuller picture of a boy, his dog and his feelings. Check out this terrific reader's theater through TeachingBooks, starring Sharon Creech, Walter Dead Myers, Avi and Sarah Weeks.
The Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney
I was fascinated when I asked Andrea Davis Pinkney about why she chose to write this story in verse. She explained how she wanted to tell a story for elementary students about the Sudanese conflict, and she felt that a novel in verse would allow them more space. She was able to keep some of the more difficult scenes quite spare, so that students could infer the tragedies rather than be faced with the brutalities that her character experienced. My students continue recommending this to each other, talking about what a powerful story it is.
Rhyme Schemer, by K.A. Holt
Kids are attracted to Kevin's attitude and sass, but it's his journey that stays with them. Kevin is bullied by his older brother at home, but he then turns to bullying classmates at school. By taking pages torn from library books, he makes funny but oh-so-cruel found poems and tapes them up at school. When another student discovers Kevin's journal, he turns the tables and Kevin must find a way to make peace with his victim-turned-aggressor. This is a great choice for 5th and 6th graders who might have liked Love That Dog when they were younger.
Serafina's Promise, by Ann E. Burg
Our students were immediately drawn to Serafina and could connect with her situation, even though it was so different from their own. Serafina dreams of becoming a doctor, but she knows that she must go to school to reach her dream. This is no easy feat in modern rural Haiti. How can she do this when her mother needs her help at home, especially with a new baby on the way? Ann E. Burg writes in free verse poetry, conveying Serafina's struggles in sparse, effective language.
The Way a Door Closes, by Hope Anita Smith
This slim book reads almost like a short play in three acts. In the first 12 poems, CJ describes how he feels warm and content as part of his close-knit family. But then, everything changes as his father loses his job and then abruptly leaves home. In the 13th poem, when his dad leaves, CJ describes how it felt: "The door closed with a / click. / I felt all the air leave the room / and we were vacuum-sealed inside. / - I can tell a lot by / the way a door closes." This is a powerful book that takes readers on CJ's roller-coaster emotional journey.
Words With Wings, by Nikki Grimes
As a friend of mine wrote, this is a "peek into the mind of a daydreamer" and a wonderful teacher who encourages her in just the right way. Her teacher recognizes that Gabby is coping with her parents separation, and that daydreams are a way she escapes. He helps channel her imagination, encouraging her to let her daydreams come to life in her writing. This is a wonderful, uplifting story of a young girl finding her own voice, staying true to herself.
Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston
I loved the inventive poetry, the rhythm and rhyme, the creative fantasy. Best way to it: Dr. Seuss meets Lemony Snicket, with a healthy dose of Roald Dahl throughout. The story is fantasy, macabre, silly, and truly great fun to read aloud. The illustrations and book design add a tremendous amount to the story. Absolutely terrific wordplay, combined with a plot that keeps kids racing along with it.

My own "to be read" pile: 2 new novels in verse:

Blue Birds, by Caroline Starr Rose
Historical fiction, showing the friendship between a Native American girl and an English girl who's traveled with her parents in 1587 to Virginia. From the publisher's description: "Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind."
Red Butterfly, by A.L. Sonnichsen
Friends are including this in their favorites of 2015: a beautiful story, beautifully told. From the publisher description: "Kara never met her birth mother. Abandoned as an infant, she was taken in by an elderly American woman living in China. Now eleven, Kara spends most of her time in their apartment, wondering why she and Mama cannot leave the city of Tianjin and go live with Daddy in Montana. Mama tells Kara to be content with what she has … but what if Kara secretly wants more?"

I just love it when a character's thoughts and moods meld with mine in my mind, growing and becoming part of me. Novels in verse - usually written in free form poetry - have a particular way of doing this, where the narrator's voice almost flows into me.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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39. Dragon Slippers

Dragon Slippers. Jessica Day George. 2007. Bloomsbury USA. 324 pages. [Source: Library]


I'm so glad I decided to revisit all three books in Jessica Day George's dragon series. I remember loving these when they first came out, but, I just haven't made time for a reread. Until now!

In Dragon Slippers, readers meet Creel, our heroine. Her aunt wants to "sacrifice" her to the local dragon, so that she can be "rescued" by a hero--hopefully a wealthy hero who will fall madly in love with her and want to marry her and support his wife's family. Creel doesn't particularly want to be left outside the dragon's cave to wait and see if a dragon or a hero comes her way. She wants to be a dressmaker. But if waiting for a dragon is the first step to her new life, well, she'll take it.

So she meets a dragon who gifts her--for better or worse--with a pair of shoes--slippers. They are blue; they are beautiful. She then goes on her way to her country's capital--the royal city. She's going to do her best to find a job in the dressmaking district. On her way there she may just meet another dragon, and, this dragon will become one of her best, best friends. His name is Shardas, and, I have to admit I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him. His hoard is not shoes--like the previous dragon--it is glass, windows to be precise.

Creel's new life has begun. And it is never dull! On her first day in town, she accidentally meets a foreign princess, and a member of the royal family--though a second son--his name is Luka. Luka and Tobin (his bodyguard) help her find a place to stay and a place to work.

I loved this one. It's a great adventure story with humans and dragons. It was just a joy to rediscover this one.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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40. Quick Tips for Writing Teaching Points

A guide to crafting your own teaching points for 1:1 conferences, strategy lessons, minilessons, mid-workshop interruptions, and share sessions.

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41. Out and About: A First Book of Poems by Shirley Hughes

Author and illustrator Shirley Hughes is a Grande Dame of British Children's literature. Her 1977 picture book, Dogger, won the Kate Greenaway Award (the British Caldecott) and, in 2007 it won the public vote for best Greenaway ever. Reading Out and About: A First Book of Poems, it's easy to see why she is so beloved in England. Although she was born in 1927, Hughes clearly still has a

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42. Sass and Sorcery

Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Palisade is a prosperous commerce town with several marauding gangs that keep the bad things away. Only, when the gangs get drunk, they have a habit of trashing the town. After a town meeting of angry merchants, the gangs are each given a minor quest to keep them out of jail--only the tasks are all set-ups and not all them survive.

The Rat Queens are one of the gangs--4 women--Betty's a Smidgen who likes candy and drugs, Hannah grew up in a squid worshiping cult and might be a goddess, Hannah's a bitter necromancer, and Violet just wants some blood on her sword. They fight, they drink, they party and hook up, and lovingly send up or subvert a lot of fantasy tropes. And they try to figure out who set them up and why.

Lots of wise-cracks, magic spells, and sword play, and a hell of a lot of fun. So much fun. I love these women and want to party with them and watch them kick a lot more ass.

The saddest thing about this is that a lot of the press and reviews are like “YAY! GIRLS!” (including several of the blurbs on the back of the omnibus, and bonus points for how they’re drawn) and given the state of the comic industry, yes, YAY! GIRLS! It’s an exciting breakthrough, but this isn’t a token volume and I fear it will become “oh, that girl comic” and it’s more than that. Read this book because it’s girls being awesome, but really, read this book because it’s just fucking awesome.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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43. Flowers are Calling by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak

I was immediately drawn to Flowers are Calling, written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak, because the illustration style reminded me of Jon Klassen with a splash of Brendan Wenzel (Some Bugs). What a treat when I opened the book and discovered that the text is as inviting and intriguing as the rich illustrations! With Flowers are Calling, Rita Gray has created a picture book

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44. Expanding Our Team

Are you interested in joining the TWT Co-Author Team?

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45. asking for what you want, getting what you want

banned books week poster before and after

This has been a heady National Library Week for many librarians I know and me in particular. There’s been a lot of online agita and, unlike the way these things usually go, some things wound up changing for the better. Here’s a list. Apologies if I link too much to facebooky stuff.

  1. Someone mentioned that they found Demco’s “Spanish” spine label a bit troublesome since it had a sombrero and a set of maracas (Mexican, not Spanish, and still stereotypical at that) and misspelled español (without the tilde). A few people complained to Demco. Demco listened, agreed, removed the items from their online store. Not all of their multicultural labels are perfect, but it was nice to be heard.
  2. ALA’s Banned Books Week poster which was put in the ALA Store this week got a lot of pushback. Does the woman look like she is wearing a niqab? What’s the poster trying to communicate? Andromeda spells out well what some of the issues with the poster are. People wrote to ALA. ALA listened. Took a while to respond. Came back with a few posts from the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom
    1. Statement on the 2015 Banned Books Week Poster
    2. How Do We Design a Banned Books Campaign
    3. Response Concerning the 2015 Banned Books Week

    I particularly found some of the crosstalk interesting about whether objecting to a marketing poster was in the same family as objecting to something being in the library collection. I know we can be a mouthy contentious bunch, but given that, some of this discussion seemed to take place on new ground and it was curious to me how much my years in the MetaFilter trenches has helped me manage these sorts of discussions.

  3. Daredevil is a great show on Netflix about a blind superhero which did not have any descriptive audio which many found ironic. People complained. The Accessible Netflix Project started a petition. Netflix fixed it.
  4. After my last post about SpaceX, I decided to expand it into an article for Medium which I did with some nice photos and a lot of linking. A few days later, Flickr actually added an option for users to have public domain and CC0 licenses on their photos. This is, to me, a HUGELY great outcome. I wrote another short article about this.
  5. On a more personal note, Jason Goldman wrote a post on Medium to talk about how he was going to become the new White House Chief Digital Officer. I left a comment on that article talking about how part of getting people involved in civic engagement is helping them to trust the online world (i.e. doing the opposite of everything Healthcare.gov has done). This comment got a nod in Goldman’s next article now that he’s taken office. I am very very pleased about this.

Bonus link the #journalofneutrallibrarianship hashtag is a pretty good time if you like Twitter. And I wrote a nerdy article about research and Wikipedia that I think you might enjoy if you haven’t seen me blabbing about it all over the place for the past few days.

How to lie with Wikipedia

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46. Judge a Book By Its Cover: Baby GreenBean Edition

Guys, blogging with a baby is hard. Really hard. I have so many blog posts written in my head that I just need to sit down and actually take the time to write out, which is so much easier said than done. I don't know what it is about blogging that just seems to take up so much more energy, but man, it drains me. 

But becoming a mom hasn't changed my reading. I still read-A LOT. I listen to books and I read books and there are books all over my house, probably more than usual if you count the amount of board books all over the floor at any given moment. Reading isn't hard, it's just finding the time to write the reviews. Sigh. I'll get there.

The fun thing is I have a great reading buddy. Baby GreenBean loves to read which makes this librarian mama very happy. But what really interests me is his fascination and interest in certain books. He judges my books by their covers on a regular basis and I find it so interesting what books he's drawn to. I've tried to snap pictures when I can, so I thought I'd share some of the books Baby GreenBean has most interested in:



I like to think that he has fantastic taste in books and knew this one was getting award buzz which is why he tried to grab it every time he saw it anywhere in the house. I'm not sure what he found so appealing-maybe the colors were calming? But anywhere the book was, Baby GreenBean was sure to find it!



I think it was the bright colors and smiling face that got his attention. Plus, it's a graphic novel-what's not to love? 





Really, who wouldn't want to read a book about dragons? Baby GreenBean was all about this book and would never let me read it because he wanted it for himself! He loved flipping through the pages of this one and even decided to try napping/reading it at one point. I guess thick books make good pillows. 



 



Ok, I admit, this one might be cheating. He wasn't feeling well this day and snuggling together and reading books for committee prep might have been more my choosing than mine, but he still picked up the book!


Other books he's been interested in, but I didn't get pictures of:


I think it's the bright colors in A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd that he liked a lot. Plus, that ice cream does look really good.


He likes big books! He's been very interested in getting his hands on my ARC of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir lately.


Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan has been re-reading Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and left his large hardcover laying around. Baby GreenBean opened it up and was very intrigued by the maps on the first page.  I think he's going to be a fantasy reader. 




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47. Putting it all together

Other than a few favorite story times that I repeat yearly, I always like to try something new. Similarly, I’m always interested in learning something new.  In February, I put it all together – mixing things that interest me with several of the library’s most wonderful assests –  technology, diversity, creative space, and kids.

I offer you the ingreadients for “Read, Reflect, Relay: a 4-week club”

Ingreadients

  • 1 part knowledge from ALSC’s online class, “Tech Savvy Booktalker”ALSC Online Education
  • 1 part inspiration from ALSC’s online class, “Series Programming for theElementary School Age”
  • 1 new friendship spawned by networking and a love of nonfiction books
  • a desire to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign
  • computers
  • books
  • school-aged kids#WeNeedDiverseBooks
  • space and time to create

Each club participant read a Schneider Family Book Award winner of her choice.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, I’ve linked to its page. Winning books embody the “disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

I asked each of the participants to distill the message of her book into a sentence or two – something that would make a good commercial.  Then I gave them a choice of using Animoto, Stupeflix, or VoiceThread to create a book trailer or podcast.  All three platforms were kind enough to offer me an “educator account” for use at the library.  Other than strict guidelines on copyright law and a “no-spoilers” rule, each girl was free to interpret and relay the message of her book as she pleased.

Coincidentally, after I had planned the club, I was chatting online with Alyson BeecherWe were both Round 2 judges for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction CYBILS Awards.  I had no idea that she is also the Chair of the Schneider Family Book Award Committee!  When I told her about my club, she immediately offered to Skype or Hangout with the club members.  We hastily worked out a schedule, and Alyson’s visit on the last day of the club was one of its highlights!

The girls ranged in age from 10 to teen.  I think you will be impressed with their creativity.

WordPress does not allow me to embed the actual videos and podcasts, but you can access them via the links below – or visit them on Alyson’s site where she was able to embed them.  Enjoy! :)

·        Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2012 winner, Middle School)  https://animoto.com/play/kUdNM1sa4fWKfZOXId63AQ

·      After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2011 winner, Middle School)   https://voicethread.com/new/myvoice/#thread/6523783/33845486/35376059

·    Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen)  https://animoto.com/play/qFPwi1vYP1ha2FF0vVUuFg

·      Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen) (another one)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/9GKeiQfgsj9Q/?autoplay=1

·      A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean (2013 winner, Middle School)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/DQ4tJG8mnsYX/?autoplay=1

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to see my video booktalk (or adapt) my video advertisement for the program, just leave a message in the comments.  I’ll be happy to respond.

 *All logos used with permission and linked back to their respective sites.

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48. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Develop Partnerships (part 2)

Girlvolution_Web LogoLast spring, a couple of coworkers and I did some outreach at an event called Girlvolution. It was a completely youth-led conference, with sessions on social justice issues ranging from foster care reform to sexual identity. The teens leading each session mixed statistical and factual information with their own perspectives and experiences.

It was the best conference I had ever been to. I was blown away by how poised, informed, and prepared the youth were. But I wondered: how did they do their research? Had they been visiting our libraries every year without us even knowing it?

Our Youth and Family Learning Manager looked into it and found out that this was exactly the case. Although Powerful Voices (the organization that hosts Girlvolution)  had a "Library Day" as part of their program each year, the library had not been providing direct support.

PV

What an awesome organization.

So this year, we collaborated. My coworkers and I met with their staff to hear more about their organization's mission and goals, and to learn how we could help. We arranged for me to visit Powerful Voices on a Thursday afternoon a couple of weeks ago to talk to the youth and their adult allies (mentors) about research. It was a great conversation about everything from whether all the world's information is available on Google (heck no) to evaluating resources.

PV survey results

Results of a survey asking participants to rate the effectiveness of Library Research Day.

That Saturday, the girls and their allies all came to the library. We settled down in the computer lab and got SERIOUS about research. I showed them how to find books in our catalog, and how to decode Dewey. We dug into databases to find the most up-to-date information and the best statistics. We ended the day with pizza, which is never a bad idea.

Powerful Voices ends their sessions with a gratitude circle. That Saturday, many youth and adults mentioned finding out about all the great resources the library has to offer, and how helpful librarians can be. I was grateful for all I learned from them, and to be part of the support network for such talented and engaged young women.

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49. Fuse #8 TV: Aaron Starmer and Reading (Too Much) Into Easy Books

YES!  It is time for yet another episode of Fuse #8 TV and today we have a doozy.  A fair frolicsome, lithe and lovely episode wherein I take Are You My Mother? and destroy your ability to ever read it again.  And if I fail to do even that, just read this version over at The Toast and voila.  Instant nightmares.

But enough about other sites.  Today our special guest is the marvelous Aaron Starmer.  If you read his 2014 book The Riverman then you might want to know a bit about the brains behind the book.  This year the sequel, The Whisper, is coming out and so we chat about the cover, the inspiration, and what’s next in Starmer’s future.  Enjoy!

All other Fuse #8 TV episodes are archived here.

And a big thank as well to the good people at Macmillan for being my sponsor and helping to put this together.

Ta!

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50. April is Math Awareness Month

We are celebrating Math Awareness Month at our libraries this week (combining it with National Library Week), so I have math-related read alouds on my mind. Even if you don’t have a special program planned for Math Awareness Month, you can easily mark it with a counting-themed story time or display.

culebra

(image taken from Holiday House website)

Poor Iguana has stubbed her toe. As anyone who has stubbed his/her toe can understand, the pain in her toe distracts her from making her fabulous cactus butter desserts. Culebra (snake)’s idea to attach a number of kitchen utensils to her tail is an unorthodox but rather successful solution. Spanish words for the animals and numbers are included (as is a glossary in the backmatter for Count on Culebra).

 

feast10

(image taken from Scholastic website)

I use Feast for 10 not only in my counting story time, but also in my Thanksgiving-themed story time (which is centered on stories about families and food).  It’s a very simple story about a family that helps Mom gather the groceries, unload the car, and prepare the feast. Family members, food, and meal-related items (such as pots) are counted.

mabela

Mabela the Clever is one of my favorite Margaret Read MacDonald stories; this folktale from Sierra Leone not only incorporates subtraction (!), but imparts the importance of being aware of your surroundings (especially if you are a mouse in the vicinity of a cult-like cat society!).

 

safari

(image taken from Barefoot Books website)

We All Went on Safari is a staple in my counting story time. As readers and listeners follow a group of Tanzanian women and children through grasslands, Swahili names and numbers are introduced in a very organic manner. A glossary of Swahili words, a map, and information about Tanzania are included.

What are your favorite counting (or any math-related) books? Let us know in the comments!

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