Friday, July 15, 2016

NerdCampMI - Recap

Kups for Kathy courtesy LB
NerdCampMI - Since the Summer of 2013, I've trekked to MI to attend NerdCamp! So proud to be a part of this group!

This year I couldn't wait to drive up on for the pre-game at Olive Garden with my Voxer pals and some friendly authors. Such great conversations are had during this visit!

The Voxers surprised me with Kups for Kathy (short version - I collect mugs, longer version - I told them I stole them)! I'll post them on Insta as I use each one!

The next day was the official start of nErDCampMI! We started the day with 6 NerdTalks from me, Teri Lesesne (author of Reading Ladders), Donalyn Miller (author of The Book Whisperer), Pernille Ripp (creator of Global Read Aloud), Raina Telgemeier (author of Smile), and surprise Kate DiCamillo (author of all the books)!!! Can you imagine how nervous I was! I was so happy to be first but very very nervous! Can't thank my friends enough for their continued encouragement and support.
NerdTalks courtesy Justin
Me and Debbie Ridpath Ohi courtesy Justin
On the first day, after the NerdTalks, there are several sessions you can attend. I decided to sit out the first session and relax with a cup of coffee. After all the sessions were over we went to the Nerdy Dinner where I met Tracey Baptiste!!!! Sadly, I did not take pictures or have someone take pictures but it was truly a dream come true.

On Day 2, people sign up to either teach something, learn something or collaborate on something.  One of my favorite sessions was with Tony Keefer. He shared with us the history of March Book Madness and we chose a theme and started gathering possible titles. It was such a fun time.

Throughout the 2 days there were author/illustrator signings and chatting. BookBug was there selling books! I picked up the Mitzi Tulane book and several others.

Like any great conference, the best part are the connections you make! It brings me joy to see my favorite voices in person. I  always have fun hanging with this crazy crew and hope we find more times to be together.
The Voxers! courtesy Justin

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#WNDB - A Raisin in The Sun

A Raisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry
Vintage (November 29, 2004)
Audience: Teens to Adults
Drama * African-American Life * Poverty
IndieBound | Amazon | Book Depository

For the first time in forever, I watched the entire Tony Awards show on June 12, 2016. The next morning, after spending several hours trying and failing to get tickets to Hamilton, I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the book. Not the Ron Chernow Alexander Hamilton biography but the Lin-Manual Miranda Hamilton: The Revolution hardcover of awesome. And, of course, the soundtrack.

On my way to the register, I saw a table of High School Summer Reading List selections and A Raisin in the Sun caught my eye. I've always loved the poem*, A Dream Deferred, and had seen snippets of the televised version of the play.

I didn't think anything of it, just put the books on my ever-expanding TBR pile hill mountain, mountain range...

A week and 1/2 later, I go to ALA Orlando (pics coming soon) and finally get a copy of The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon, which I rave about here. And guess what play consumes the mc's father? Yep! He loves the character of Walter Lee Younger, whose life mimics what he sees as his own circumstances. Serendipity?

Lorraine Hansberry was the youngest person (only 29), first female, and first African-American to have a play produced on Broadway. This story of how poverty eats at your will and limits your ability to rise up still resonates today.

The Evolution of A Raisin in the Sun

*What happens to a dream deferred? 

      Does it dry up 
      like a raisin in the sun? 
      Or fester like a sore— 
      And then run? 
      Does it stink like rotten meat? 
      Or crust and sugar over— 
      like a syrupy sweet? 

      Maybe it just sags 
      like a heavy load. 

      Or does it explode?

I woke up in the middle of the night to find yet another African American killed by police officers and I am afraid that the last line is what we have coming. We cannot deny that #BlackLivesMatter but we also need to show it. #AltonSterling - Here's a great article about the pushing down that is sure to come to no good end, called Heavy Load, that also references A Dream Deferred and A Raisin in the Sun!

Monday, July 4, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 4, 2016

What I Purchased/Borrowed
Zeroes (Zeroes, 1) by Scott Westerfeld, audiobook, borrowed
In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch
Tiny Pretty Things by Sonia Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace
Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Half Wild (Half Bad, 2) by Sally Green, borrowed

What I Read
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon, ARC
A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, 1) by Brittany Cavallaro, borrowed
Haters by Jesse Andrews, audiobook, borrowed
Spaced Out (Moon Base Alpha, 2) by Stuart Gibbs, borrowed
Heartless by Marissa Meyer, Edelweiss


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (11/1/2016) - Ever since I read Everything, Everything (Yoon, 9/15) I've been waiting for the next book by Yoon. And also dreading it, because that book was, well, everything!

And now we have this. It was beautiful and heartfelt. Daniel and Natasha are on fate's rollercoaster and can't get the ride to stop. Daniel is destined to go to Yale and eventually become a doctor while Natasha's family is being deported. Tonight! 

Following a series of signs, they meet. Combine this with The New York Times's quiz, The 36 Questions That Lead to Love (which you can try here). Add in alternating chapters, some fully realized secondary characters, and a strong sense of place and wow, Yoon has done it again!

Find Nicola Yoon on the internet:
Website -
Twitter -
Tumblr -
Instagram -

I say pre-order this one for your middle school and high school libraries. 

Want more reading ideas this week? Check out:

Monday, June 20, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - June 20, 2016

We bring you this special edition of It's Monday, What Are You Reading! Today I want to look at what my K-4 students have checked out this past school year.

The Top Ten Circulated Books

10. Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, 6) by Jeff Kinney, 978-1419-70223-5.

Cabin Fever Event Guide

9. Fish in A Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt, 978-03991-6259-6

Educator's Guide

8. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, 978-17435-3987-3

The Thing About Jellyfish Educator's Guide

7. A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord, 978-05457-0027-6

A Handful of Stars Educator's Guide

6. The LEGO book by Daniel Lipkowitz, 978-07566-6693-4

5. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, 978-12500-4323-8

Crenshaw Educator's Guide

4. Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel, 978-05452-1028-7

3. Cardboard by Doug TenNapel, 978-05454-1873-7

2. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, 978-05451-3206-0

1. Smile by Raina Telgemeier, 978-05455-4060-5

Here's a great 
from Scholastic. 

Any surprises?

I'm happy that chapter books made the list! After the Mock Newbery Club ended, I booktalked some of our reads to the 3rd and 4th graders.  I'm hoping there's a direct correlation! I am pained with the lack of diversity on the list! Definitely a goal for Fall 2016.

Check out Daydream Reader (@NikiOhsBarnes) for more ideas of what the K-4 crowd is reading. We've got some books in common!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Stepping Into Digital Literacy

Recently I was honored to present at the 34th Annual Sharjah International Book Fair in Sharjah UAE. This was the second annual American Library Association (ALA) Library Conference. It was a an incredible experience.

My presentation was on my starting to integrate Digital Literacy into the library curriculum. It's truly a work in progress and I'll update as I learn more!


Fair Pictures
Showing the route from DC to Dubai UAE

Fair welcome
Students were everywhere at the fair!

Loved the variety in book covers

Presentation tweets

Answering questions about access

 Had a great time learning with other school librarians at the fair! Thank you to ALA for such a wonderful and fulfilling opportunity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Voyagers Series Giveaway

Samples and prizing are provided by Random House Children’s Books
#VoyagersHQ - check out the site!
All right science fiction fans, there's a new series that already has two books out for you!

Part sci-fi, part eco-mystery, all action-adventure.

As the young heroes in VOYAGERS journey into outer space to save planet Earth, you are invited to become part of the story by joining the crew through the multi-platform, VOYAGERS HQ. 

The HQ extends the adventure beyond the page, unlocking games and activities on your device!

Each book has clues and codes that lead to world extensions to be explored, played, and shared. Your online profile tracks your progress through the VOYAGERS universe, and gives you rewards, ranking and virtual currency for each product code redeemed.

You can create your own custom VOYAGERS character, follow the team and experience this space adventure through the eyes of your own virtual droid.

Book 1 - Project Alpha by  DJ MacHale

Earth is in danger! Without a renewable source of clean energy, our planet will be toast in less than a year. There are 6 essential elements that, when properly combined, create a new power source. But the elements are scattered throughout the galaxy. And only a spaceship piloted by children can reach it and return to Earth safely. First the ideal team of four 12-year-olds must be chosen, and then the first element must be retrieved. There is not a mistake to be made, or a moment to lose. The source is out there. Voyagers is blasting off in 3, 2,1!

Credit: Gayle Goodrich

About the Author
D.J. MacHale is the author of the bestselling book series Pendragon, Morpheus Road, the SYLO Chronicles. He has written, directed and produced numerous award-winning television series and movies for young people including Are You Afraid of the Dark?; Flight 29 Down and Tower of Terror. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

Website: DJ MacHale Books
Twitter: @DJMacHale
Facebook:  Author DJ MacHale

Book 2 - Game of Flames by Robin Wasserman

The Alpha team has been chosen and they've already snagged the first element on planet J-16. The second is hidden on Meta-Prime, a planet filled with metal mazes, catapults of fire, and warring alien robots. But what our Voyagers don't know is that there is another ship, the Omega team, following hot on their trail...

About the Author
Credit: Sonya Sones

Robin Wasserman is the author of several acclaimed books for children and young adults, including The Waking Dark, The Book of Blood and Shadow, Hacking Harvard, the Cold Awakening Trilogy, and the Chasing Yesterday Trilogy. A former children's book editor, she lives and writes (and frequently procrastinates) in Brooklyn, New York.

Website: Robin Wasserman
Twitter: @RobinWasserman
Facebook: Robin Wasserman

The Giveaway

Get both books in the series AND a special prize pack: A branded iphone 6 case with a home GadgetGrip button! Open to US addresses only. Giveaway closes Wednesday November 18, 2015, 11:59 pm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Library Update - Part 3

Taking the atelier apart in preparation for the renovation. Sinks have been removed!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Library Update - Part 2

At the end of the school year, the Head of School gathered a bunch of volunteers to pack up the library. That was good and bad. The good was I had a lot of volunteers. The bad was I couldn't control HOW things were packed nor where they were placed nor how they were LABELED! Also, since our update has been delayed, I've had to dig through boxes time and time again to try to find books. Students also only had access to books on a cart.

Book Box Surprise!

Books to be weeded
Finding books to checkout


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