My librarian friend Dedra tweeted a link to the #summerthrowdown back in June and I immediately signed up to participate in the League of Librarians, hoping it would keep me motivated to accomplish my goal of reading one book a day over summer vacation. I didn't quite reach my goal, but the participating in the Summer Throwdown was a lot of fun and it was great be part of a community of readers as well as get some excellent book recommendations. In that spirit of passing it on, here are a few of the most memorable books from my summer reading list:
1. Wonder by R.J. Palacio - Auggie Pullman, after being homeschooled his entire life, is starting his public school as a middle school student. Why is this memorable? Auggie was born with facial deformities so severe that he won't even describe himself.
2. In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz - Jack and Jill went up the hill. Did you ever wonder what else happened to them? This venture through the dark side of fairy tales is exciting, gruesome and leaves you hanging on the edge of the page. (Not a good bedtime read!)
3. Chomp by Carl Hiaasen - Filled with fabulously named characters (Wahoo, Tuna and Derek Badger), a surly dad and surlier alligator, and a reality show with a not-so-real star, this novel is a comedy, an adventure and a mystery all wrapped up in one great story.
4. The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman - Continuing in a fairy tale vein, this is the story of Elizabeth, who gets a job working in a most extraordinary lending library. This library contains magical objects found in fairy tales - and they work! However, as in fairy tales, magical objects must be treated with great care as they can work for or against you.
5. Legend by Marie Lu - June, a prodigy of the Government, sets out to avenge her brother's death by capturing the elusive rebel and master criminal Day. While undercover in out west, now known as the Republic, she is rescued by Day and befriends him as she unaware of his identity. What defines right and wrong is as slippery as capturing Day. This story twists and turns, keeping your fingers ready to turn the page.
6. Vanished by Sheela Chari - What is a veena? Why would a kid want to play one? Why would someone else want to steal it? Why would it be cursed? Why are Neela's parents so secretive about the veena? What do dragons have to do with everything she seems to find? Read and find out!
7. And last but not least, one YA selection: I Can't Keep My Own Secrets by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser - This book is a compilation of six-word memoirs written by teens. It is sad, funny, and brutally honest. Wow.
How am I sharing my web presence with our school community this year?
For $20 I was able to have 1,000 cards printed with the web addresses for our media center's web site, blog and Pinterest page. I'll be distributing these cards to parents at our annual Back-to-School night and to my students during their initial media center visits. In one small 2x3.5" gesture, we're promoting the school, furthering the image that teachers are professionals and saving trees. (Last year the language arts teachers and I sent home a newsletter, waaay too much paper.)
There are several sites where you can find easily customized templates and create business cards for your media center or classroom. I chose this one from Vistaprint as it incorporates our school colors of orange and black. My principal was impressed when I presented her with one and I'm excited to get feedback from students and parents, though the true test will be the amount of traffic on the pages listed.
How do you share your web presence?
It started so innocently. My sister-in-law was expecting and I was looking for a pattern to make a baby blanket. A fellow librarian told me to check out Pinterest and I would surely find one. I did. I also found all sorts of wonderful recipes, classroom ideas, cute shoes, oh-so-clever cartoons, decorating ideas, and photos of just about everything. The assortment of ideas was mind-boggling and I quickly lost all sense of time whenever I logged in. I felt a little guilty, spending so much time online pinning links to sites I may or may not ever have the time to peruse. This is when School Library Journal rode in to assuage my guilt and give direction to my Pinterest fascination.
The July issue of SLJ had a wonderful article by Kate Messner on how libraries and librarians are using Pinterest to promote books, reading and resources (Very Pinteresting! The hot social network is taking educators by storm). In the article, Messner discusses various ways in which librarians are using Pinterest to connect with their students. The article includes links to Pinterest pages set up by both public and school librarians, several other articles offering helpful tips on navigating Pinterest and ideas for using Pinterest in the library.
Thus inspired, I have begun compiling a Pinterest page for my media center. I found a workaround for pinning content with no suitable graphic - find the appropriate graphic, pin it, then go to the edit feature and paste in the URL you would like to link to - and I have a basic page ready for the first week of school. I'll be adding content regularly and found out that I could allow teachers with Pinterest accounts the ability to pin on the boards for their content area, a more immediate way to update information links than having them send me the links to add.
Feel free to check out the beginnings of our page - Lockerman Library .
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