Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jeanna Walker - Thurs. Oct. . 2 to Sat Oct. 4, 2014

Back again as guest blogger is Jeanna Walker, the media specialist teacher at Portage Northern High School (MI). There she is centrally involved in activities with students and teachers in the Library Learning Commons.

Visit the Portage Public Schools High School CyberLibrary.
Portage Northern High School's  library teaching program was selected to represent Michigan on Dr. Nancy Everhart’s AASL Vision Tour. Jeanna Walker was recently named by the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) as Michigan's 2014 School Librarian of the Year. ISTE also awarded Jeanna their 2014 Making IT Happen Award.
Learn more about Jeanna Walker and her work at Portage Northern High School plus her busy professional life at 

This year's startup question for all of our blog-guests is - "What is the most important part of your school library program at New Haven High this year?"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats

THE CASE OF THE VANISHING LITTLE BROWN BATS: A SCIENTIFIC MYSTERY by Sandra Markle follows a group of scientists as they investigate the disappearance of the beloved brown bat population. This engaging mystery combines a well-researched narrative with high-quality color photographs.

Like her award-winning scientific mysteries focusing on golden frogs and honeybees in “The Case of the Vanishing…” series, this book focuses on a real-world investigation. The scientific aspects are made accessible through clear explanations and authentic examples.

The book’s layout will appeal to youth readers. Annotated photographs are useful for children who wish to skim the book before reading. Maps and labeled diagrams help readers visualize key concepts. Interesting questions are used as headings and subheadings to guide reading.

Additional resources provided by the author will be of particular interest to teachers and librarians. These include an author’s note, local/global efforts, glossary, digging deep information, and an index. In addition, the exemplary informational text would be useful in addressing the Common Core Curriculum.

While many library collections already have many “fact books” about bats, this book provides a unique, fresh perspective on the topic.

The combination of fascinating science with an engaging mystery are perfect of the target youth audience.

Learn more about Sandra Markle and her books at her blog at http://sandra-markle.blogspot.com/.

NetGalley ARC used for review

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: Sisters

Raina Telgemeier is known for her popular graphic novels and memoir for youth. Like its companion SMILE, SISTERS by Raina Telgemeier weaves together a humorous, relatable story. In this case, the plot unfolds during a family road trip from California to Colorado. Having grown up in a family who took car vacations in a Volkswagon Beetle, I could relate to the experience of traveling with siblings.

Telgemeier’s use of present-day narrative combined with flashbacks keeps the reader constantly engaged in this quick read. The illustrations are clean and easy to follow, while the dialog is realistic and light.

SISTERS is perfect for the target audience and is likely to encourage even reluctant readers to look for Telgemeier” earlier works.

I had the opportunity to see Raina Telgemeier do a Reader’s Theater excerpt from this book at ALA in Las Vegas. It was hilarious! I highly recommend both the book and the author!

To learn more about Raina Telgemeier, go to http://goraina.com/

Publisher ARC used for review

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sherry Gick - Mon. Sept. 29 to Wed. Oct. 1, 2014

Sherry Gick is the school librarian at Rossville Consolidated Schools in Indiana.

Sherry works daily in the middle school/high school library and supervises an assistant who runs the elementary library. She also teaches sixth and eighth grade language arts enrichment and peer tutoring/cadet teaching. She would be pleased to share with you ideas and insights as well as other issues and activities related to her school library and the work of school librarians in general.

Sherry is married to a teacher and coach. They are parents of two children. She is an avid reader and a runner.
This year's startup question to all of our blog-guests is - "What is the most important part of your school library program at New Haven High this year?"

Website Resource: Our Documents

Looking for a way to talk with teachers about the Common Core? Start with primary source documents. Sit down together and work your way through the Our Documents website at http://www.ourdocuments.gov/

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: Nancy Knows

NANCY KNOWS by Cybèle Young is the beautifully illustrated story of an elephant who’s having trouble with her memory. Nancy can recall everything except the one thing she’s trying to remember. Readers young and old alike will be able to relate to this charming story.

Intended for preschool and primary-aged children, both parents and teachers will be attracted to the theme of “remembering” associated with colors, senses, and emotions. This book would be a wonderful springboard to discussions about with children about the concept of reflection. This essential concept is difficult to teach, but Young’s story of remembering would be an excellent time to start young children thinking about their own thinking. The conclusion explores the important of mental relaxation associated with remembering.

Young is known for her intricate paper sculptures. While the character of Nancy is shown as a primitive outline, amazing miniature paper sculptures are woven throughout the picture book reflecting Nancy’s thoughts and memories. The illustrator also used this technique successfully in two of her other picture books, A FEW BLOCKS and A FEW BITES.

NANCY KNOWS is a book that belongs in every home and library collection. Unlike Nancy, you’re unlikely to forget it.

To learn more about Cybèle Young’s exceptional artwork, go tohttp://www.cybeleyoung.ca/.

LibraryThing ARC used for review

Book Review: Voices from the March on Washington

VOICES FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON by J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon is a powerful poem collection providing readers with a wide range of perspectives on this historic day. 

The poems in this book will transport youth fifty years into the past. Although many books chronicle the events of August 28, 1963, few capture the emotions of the experience. Through poetry, readers become immersed in the hope, pride, and excitement of the march.

From analyzing the inspiring title page photograph to discussing the impact of individual poems, the possibilities for classroom activities related to the Civil Rights Movement are endless.

Use the poems to jumpstart activities. When Langston Hughes is mentioned, bring out his poems to extend the experience. For more about Langston Hughes, go to http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/langston-hughes. When poets talk about Jim Crow, show photos reflecting racial segregation. For ideas, go tohttp://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/civil-rights/.

Beyond the poems, the book’s introduction provides an excellent overview to the time period and context of event. In addition, the guide at the end of the book includes biographical notes about the key people mentioned in the book along with additional resources to extend the reading experience.

Add this book to the growing collection of high-quality works associated with the Civil Rights Movement in America.

NetGalley ARC used for review

Monday, September 22, 2014

Jennifer Brower - Thur. Sept. 25 to Sat. Sept. 27, 2014

Our first virtual guest is Jennifer Brower, the Library Media Specialist at New Haven High School, IN.
Jenn was awarded the2012 Outstanding New Media Specialist Award presented jointly by the Indiana Library Association and the Association of Indiana School Library Educators (ILF/AISLE). Currently, she is the Treasurer for AISLE.
In a short time-span, Mrs. Brower has established herself at her school as a energetic and knowledgeable leader who is willing to share and collaborate. She is one of the organizers for the Fort Wayne Edcamp and the Fort Wayne K12 Edtech Monthly Meetups
Jennifer will lead off with her response to the startup question - "What is the most important part of your school library program at New Haven High this year?"

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Book Week 2014

For lots of ideas for celebrating Banned Book Week, go to the official website at http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/.